Home Formula 2 Tsunoda heads Carlin 1-2 in F2 practice on Bahrain Outer layout

Tsunoda heads Carlin 1-2 in F2 practice on Bahrain Outer layout

by Craig Woollard

Photo: Formula Motorsport Limited

Carlin team-mates Yuki Tsunoda and Jehan Daruvala were fastest in free practice for the Formula 2 title decider on Bahrain’s Outer layout.

Title outsider Tsunoda’s fastest lap, a 1m03.267s, came in the early stages of the 45-minute session when the hard compound Pirelli tyres were at their freshest around the short 3.066-kilometre circuit.

After that, few drivers managed to improve significantly if at all. With so few corners, the field was compressed to just over a second and struggled to find space in the twisty middle sector.

Tsunoda needs a perfect weekend to be champion, with he and Prema’s Robert Shwartzman requiring pole position later on Friday to remain in title contention.

Free practice was brought to a premature end as HWA Racelab’s Artem Markelov suffered a spectacular engine expiration on the pit straight. The Russian ended up 20th on the timesheet.

Daruvala carried his strong form over from pre-season testing and last weekend’s event on Bahrain’s Grand Prix layout to get within 0.228s of his team-mate at the front.

Hitech GP’s Luca Ghiotto was third fastest, just ahead of last weekend’s feature race winner Felipe Drugovich and Formula 1-bound title contender Nikita Mazepin.

The two drivers most likely to take the title – Prema’s Mick Schumacher and Virtuosi Racing’s Callum Ilott – were seventh and 18th respectively.

ART Grand Prix’s Marcus Armstrong was sixth as he headed a tight group of drivers down to 19th. Virtuosi’s Guanyu Zhou, Charouz Racing System’s Louis Deletraz and Shwartzman rounded out the top 10.

Deletraz, in what is likely his final F2 weekend, shared some wheel-to-wheel action with DAMS’ Dan Ticktum during the session. Ticktum ended up 11th.

Ralph Boschung – who steps in at Campos Racing for Jack Aitken after he was called up to replace George Russell at Williams for this weekend’s Sakhir Grand Prix – ended the session 13th fastest on his F2 return.

Drivers were struggling on the bumps on the lesser-used section of Tarmac that differentiates the Outer layout from the Grand Prix loop, with Turn 6 in particular leaving drivers with a lack of rear-end grip.

Free practice results

Pos Driver Team Time Gap Laps
1 Yuki Tsunoda Carlin 1m03.267s 28
2 Jehan Daruvala Carlin 1m03.495s +0.228s 28
3 Luca Ghiotto Hitech GP 1m03.582s +0.315s 23
4 Felipe Drugovich MP Motorsport 1m03.609s +0.342s 26
5 Nikita Mazepin Hitech GP 1m03.664s +0.397s 22
6 Marcus Armstrong ART Grand Prix 1m03.872s +0.605s 25
7 Mick Schumacher Prema 1m03.876s +0.609s 24
8 Guanyu Zhou Virtuosi 1m03.879s +0.612s 22
9 Louis Deletraz Charouz Racing System 1m03.940s +0.673s 24
10 Robert Shwartzman Prema 1m03.966s +0.699s 22
11 Dan Ticktum DAMS 1m03.994s +0.727s 25
14 Christian Lundgaard ART Grand Prix 1m04.012s +0.745s 23
12 Ralph Boschung Campos Racing 1m04.014s +0.747s 24
13 Theo Pourchaire HWA Racelab 1m04.060s +0.793s 26
15 Sean Gelael DAMS 1m04.065s +0.798s 25
16 Pedro Piquet Charouz Racing System 1m04.065s +0.798s 27
17 Roy Nissany Trident 1m04.104s +0.837s 23
18 Callum Ilott Virtuosi Racing 1m04.117s +0.850s 25
19 Marino Sato Trident 1m04.166s +0.899s 26
20 Artem Markelov HWA Racelab 1m04.252s +0.985s 26
21 Guilherme Samaia Campos Racing 1m04.366s +1.099s 26
22 Giuliano Alesi MP Motorsport 1m04.426s +1.159s 25