Home Formula 2 Tsunoda on pole, Schumacher 18th for final F2 feature race at Bahrain

Tsunoda on pole, Schumacher 18th for final F2 feature race at Bahrain

by Craig Woollard

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.

Qualifying results

Pos Driver Team Time Gap Laps
1 Yuki Tsunoda Carlin 1m02.676s 20
2 Nikita Mazepin Hitech GP 1m02.798s +0.122s 16
3 Jehan Daruvala Carlin 1m02.807s +0.131s 17
4 Robert Shwartzman Prema 1m02.822s +0.146s 15
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
8 Dan Ticktum DAMS 1m02.954s +0.278s 18
9 Callum Ilott Virtuosi 1m03.014s +0.338s 17
10 Louis Deletraz Charouz Racing System 1m03.062s +0.386s 20
11 Guanyu Zhou Virtuosi 1m03.075s +0.399s 17
12 Marino Sato Trident 1m03.116s +0.440s 16
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
18 Mick Schumacher Prema 1m03.270s +0.594s 15
19 Roy Nissany Trident 1m03.317s +0.641s 16
20 Ralph Boschung Campos Racing 1m03.403s +0.727s 18
21 Guilherme Samaia Campos Racing 1m03.552s +0.876s 17
22 Sean Gelael DAMS 1m03.738s +1.062s 18