Home Formula 2 Vips sets the pace in F2 practice in breezy Baku

Vips sets the pace in F2 practice in breezy Baku

by Roger Gascoigne

Photo: Formula Motorsport Limited

Hitech GP’s Juri Vips timed his run to perfection to head the times in Formula 2 free practice in Baku, as he did in 2021.

Vips, a double race winner at the circuit last year, edged out fellow Red Bull junior Liam Lawson by just 0.077 seconds as laptimes tumbled in the final minutes of the single practice session.

Carlin driver Lawson had set the early pace with a 2m00.236s on his fourth lap, before lowering his best mark to 1m58.028s to reassert himself at the front after others had beaten his previous mark.

Last year’s poleman was consistently among the fastest throughout but although he improved late on, was narrowly beaten by Vips.

Making his return to F2 after missing the previous two rounds with a neck injury, Ralph Boschung was at the top of the times ahead of Lawson before he lost the rear under braking for Turn 5, causing the session’s red flag interruption.

When practice resumed with six minutes to go, all the field except for Boschung and Clement Novalak, the cause of the earlier stoppage, immediately took to the track.

Boschung’s earlier time left him eighth at the end, and his Campos Racing team will be hoping that his crash has not exacerbated his neck problems ahead of qualifying which takes place in the afternoon.

Prema’s Jehan Daruvala was the first to demote Boschung with a 1m56.698s, benefitting from a tow from team-mate Dennis Hauger, before the Hitech pair of Marcus Armstrong and then Vips lowered the benchmark.

Armstrong ended the session in third, just ahead of Virtuosi Racing’s Jack Doohan and ART Grand Prix’s Frederik Vesti.

Championship leader Felipe Drugovich had been languishing in 21st place until the final minutes, having had to abort a fast lap due to Boschung’s crash. He managed to set an identical time to Daruvala’s to be classified seventh, one place behind Daruvala by virtue of the Indian driver having set his lap first.

Drugovich’s main title rival Theo Pourchaire was only 15th fastest, after only improving by 1.3s in the final green flag phase.

Free practice results
Pos Driver Team Time Gap Laps
1 Juri Vips Hitech GP 1m55.924s 11
2 Liam Lawson Carlin 1m56.001s +0.077s 14
3 Marcus Armstrong Hitech GP 1m56.238s +0.314s 11
4 Jack Doohan Virtuosi 1m56.414s +0.490s 12
5 Frederik Vesti ART Grand Prix 1m56.532s +0.608s 14
6 Jehan Daruvala Prema 1m56.698s +0.774s 12
7 Felipe Drugovich MP Motorsport 1m56.698s +0.774s 12
8 Ralph Boschung Campos Racing 1m56.911s +0.987s 9
9 Richard Verschoor Trident 1m56.920s +0.996s 14
10 Dennis Hauger Prema 1m56.953s +1.029s 12
11 Ayumu Iwasa DAMS 1m57.183s +1.259s 12
12 Logan Sargeant Carlin 1m57.247s +1.323s 14
13 Marino Sato Virtuosi 1m57.353s +1.429s 12
14 Enzo Fittipaldi Charouz Racing System 1m57.481s +1.557s 14
15 Theo Pourchaire ART Grand Prix 1m57.548s +1.624s 14
16 Calan Williams Trident 1m57.643s +1.719s 13
17 Roy Nissany DAMS 1m57.724s +1.800s 12
18 Amaury Cordeel Van Amersfoort Racing 1m58.083s +2.159s 12
19 Cem Bolukbasi Charouz Racing System 1m58.236s +2.312s 13
20 Jake Hughes Van Amersfoort Racing 1m58.820s +2.896s 12
21 Olli Caldwell Campos Racing 1m59.820s +3.896s 13
22 Clement Novalak MP Motorsport 1m59.823s +3.899s 7