Carlin’s Yuki Tsunoda remains in Formula 2 title contention after taking his fourth pole of the season on Bahrain’s Outer layout, as points leader Mick Schumacher qualified a lowly 18th.
Honda protege Tsunoda needs a perfect weekend of pole, two wins and points for fastest lap in both races to even have a chance of snatching the title from Ferrari juniors Mick Schumacher and Callum Ilott.
Tsunoda, who topped a frantic practice session, was rapid throughout much of the 30-minute qualifying and put in a 1m02.676s lap in the first half to take the top spot from fellow title outsider Nikita Mazepin.
After then, traffic became a major issue and times started to drop away.
With four minutes remaining, Mazepin’s Hitech GP team-mate Luca Ghiotto spun and brought out a red flag.
The session resumed, but only Trident’s Roy Nissany improved and pole for Tsunoda kept him in title contention and pushed out Schumacher’s Prema team-mate Robert Shwartzman.
Schumacher’s session did not go according to plan. He and Prema’s strategy to find clear air on track failed and Schumacher’s times were well down the order.
When the session resumed after the red flag, Schumacher made contact with Nissany coming into Turn 10, and Nissany mounted the rear of the rear of Schumacher’s car – bringing out a second red flag and chequered flag.
Formula 1-bound Schumacher provisionally starts only 18th but is under investigation for the Nissany collision.
Virtuosi Racing rival Ilott endured his second-worst qualifying of the season – ending up in ninth place.
Jehan Daruvala was third fastest behind Mazepin, while Prema’s tactics worked better for Shwartzman as he qualified fourth.
MP Motorsport’s Felipe Drugovich ended up fifth ahead of ART Grand Prix’s Christian Lundgaard and HWA Racelab’s Artem Markelov. DAMS’ Dan Ticktum, Ilott and Charouz Racing System’s Louis Deletraz rounded out the top
HWA was another team to try alternative tactics and it worked out for Markelov. He and team-mate Theo Pourchaire ran in the gap while others pitted for fresh tyres and were able to make the most of the clean track.
They did, however, find extensive traffic when the remaining 20 cars returned to the circuit.
|2||Nikita Mazepin||Hitech GP||1m02.798s||+0.122s||16|
|5||Felipe Drugovich||MP Motorsport||1m02.841s||+0.165s||18|
|6||Christian Lundgaard||ART Grand Prix||1m02.849s||+0.173s||18|
|7||Artem Markelov||HWA Racelab||1m02.947s||+0.271s||13|
|10||Louis Deletraz||Charouz Racing System||1m03.062s||+0.386s||20|
|13||Pedro Piquet||Charouz Racing System||1m03.147s||+0.471s||19|
|14||Luca Ghiotto||Hitech GP||1m03.166s||+0.490s||12|
|15||Marcus Armstrong||ART Grand Prix||1m03.169s||+0.493s||17|
|16||Giuliano Alesi||MP Motorsport||1m03.194s||+0.518s||18|
|17||Theo Pourchaire||HWA Racelab||1m03.228s||+0.552s||19|
|20||Ralph Boschung||Campos Racing||1m03.403s||+0.727s||18|
|21||Guilherme Samaia||Campos Racing||1m03.552s||+0.876s||17|