Prema’s Frederik Vesti dominated the second morning of Formula 2 pre-season testing at Bahrain.
Amaury Cordeel was fatest at first, as his Virtuosi Racing team, ART Grand Prix and PHM Racing by Charouz were the only teams to head on the track in the first 10 minutes.
Vesti took over at the top with a 1m47.311s lap after 11 minutes, putting him almost 1.3 seconds clear of ART GP’s Theo Pourchaire in second place.
A few minutes later Vesti improved his best lap, and Trident’s Clement Novalak went third and then second fastest with successive laps. While multiple drivers found ways to improve their laptimes, they were all at least a second slower than Vesti.
Novalak’s team-mate Stanek slotted into second after 20 minutes, 1.165s off Vesti, then Carlin’s Enzo Fittipaldi joined the pacesetter in being the only driver in the session to lap in the 1m47s.
He improved to 1m47.648s after 25 minutes, putting him 0.525s behind Vesti, then 15 minutes later Vesti remarkably found another two seconds with a 1m44.234s lap.
When DAMS’ Ayumu Iwasa became the next driver to occupy second place with a 1m46.815s lap, he was a massive 2.581s off the pace.
Cordeel returned to third place at the end of the first hour of running aprroached, a 1m47.451s putting him 3.217s off Vesti, and there was then yellow flags at turn three as Stanek hit trouble. Red flags were waved shortly after, and the session was stopped for eight minutes.
While drivers were quick to return to track after that, most focused on long runs rather than qualifying simulations and there was no change to the top 10. There were also two drivers who had not left the pits at all during the morning, although that changed in the second half of the two-and-a-half hour session when Prema’s Ollie Bearman left the pits after 80 minutes had passed.
Laptime improvements started to come in during the final 45 minutes, with Van Amersfoort Racing’s Richard Verschoor jumping up to fifth place and Hitech GP’s Isack Hadjar going sixth fastest.
Hadjar’s team-mate Jak Crawford then moved into fifth, before Bearman took over the position with a 1m47.927s lap set with just over half an hour of the session to go.
Cordeel got within 2.5s of Vesti a few minutes later, then DAMS’ Arthur Leclerc headed out on track after spending most of the session in the pits and he jumped up to second place with 22 minutes remaining. His effort was no match for Vesti though, as he was 2.282s off the pace.
At that point Ralph Boschung left the pits for the first time. The Campos Racing driver went on a run of five flying laps, and in that time was able to better everyone but Vesti. His fastest lap, 1m46.181s, was 1.947s slower than the Dane’s.
That shufflec Leclerc down to third, and with 15 minutes left on the clock Pourchaire set a 1m46.633s to put himself fourth on the timesheet.
Morning session results
|2||Ralph Boschung||Campos Racing||1m46.181s||+1.947s||7|
|4||Theo Pourchaire||ART GP||1m46.633s||+2.399s||49|
|5||Amaury Cordeel||Virtuosi Racing||1m46.714s||+2.480s||24|
|9||Kush Maini||Campos Racing||1m47.663s||+3.429s||50|
|11||Jak Crawford||Hitech GP||1m48.063s||+3.829s||40|
|13||Isack Hadjar||Hitech GP||1m48.082s||+3.848s||40|
|17||Roy Nissany||PHM Racing by Charouz||1m48.485s||+4.251s||41|
|18||Jehan Daruvala||MP Motorsport||1m48.495s||+4.261s||33|
|19||Dennis Hauger||MP Motorsport||1m48.510s||+4.276s||33|
|20||Brad Benavides||PHM Racing by Charouz||1m48.685s||+4.451s||36|
|21||Juan Manuel Correa||VAR||1m47.688s||+4.454s||42|
|22||Victor Martins||ART Grand Prix||1m48.750s||+4.516s||39|