Home Featured Vips tops practice on F2’s Baku return by three quarters of a second

Vips tops practice on F2’s Baku return by three quarters of a second

by Craig Woollard

Photo: Dutch Photo Agency / Red Bull Content Pool

Hitech GP’s Juri Vips commandingly topped Formula 2 practice in Baku, as a crash for DAMS’ Roy Nissany ended the session early.

The 45-minute session was run exclusively on Pirelli’s medium compound, which is the harder tyre for this weekend.

Vips’ session-topping 1m55.210s lap came with just two minutes remaining and was, at the time, more than a second up on the opposition.

The track rubbered in over practice, and the laptimes came down by more than two seconds in the latter part alone.

Only Campos Racing’s Ralph Boschung was able to get within a second of Vips, having spent much of the second half of the session at the top of the timesheets.

However, any improvements in the final minute were prevented when the session was red-flagged as Nissany crashed heavily into the wall where Romain Grosjean crashed behind the safety car in Formula 1 in 2018.

Several drivers had to abort their efforts as a result.

The first driver to crash was Trident’s Marino Sato, who hit the wall at Turn 15, damaging his suspension and ruling him out.

MP Motorsport’s Lirim Zendeli ran off the circuit early on and, despite assistance from marshals, was unable to get going again. This led to a lengthy virtual safety car period.

Monaco feature race winner Theo Pourchaire was third fastest, ahead of Prema’s Robert Shwartzman and Oscar Piastri.

Championship leader Guanyu Zhou could only go 12th, ahead of 2019 Baku race-winner Jack Aitken, who spectacularly oversteered around the circuit, clipping the Tec-Pro barrier on one occasion.

DAMS’ Marcus Armstrong and Trident’s Bent Viscaal fared better than their team-mates, ending sixth and seventh, ahead of Charouz Racing System’s David Beckmann, Carlin’s Dan Ticktum and ART’s Christian Lundgaard.

Free practice results

Pos Driver Team Time Gap Laps
1 Juri Vips Hitech GP 1m55.210s 15
2 Ralph Boschung Campos Racing 1m55.976s +0.766s 16
3 Theo Pourchaire ART Grand Prix 1m56.323s +1.113s 17
4 Robert Shwartzman Prema 1m56.375s +1.165s 16
5 Oscar Piastri Prema 1m56.394s +1.184s 16
6 Marcus Armstrong DAMS 1m56.515s +1.305s 17
7 Bent Viscaal Trident 1m56.594s +1.384s 15
8 David Beckmann Charouz Racing System 1m56.778s +1.568s 16
9 Dan Ticktum Carlin 1m56.795s +1.585s 16
10 Christian Lundgaard ART Grand Prix 1m56.821s +1.611s 17
11 Liam Lawson Hitech GP 1m56.860s +1.650s 14
12 Guanyu Zhou Virtuosi 1m57.019s +1.809s 15
13 Jack Aitken HWA Racelab 1m57.260s +2.050s 16
14 Richard Verschoor MP Motorsport 1m57.504s +2.294s 16
15 Felipe Drugovich Virtuosi 1m57.561s +2.351s 14
16 Jehan Daruvala Carlin 1m57.691s +2.481s 16
17 Roy Nissany DAMS 1m58.221s +3.011s 16
18 Guilherme Samaia Charouz Racing System 1m59.553s +4.343s 15
19 Matteo Nannini Campos Racing 1m59.747s +4.537s 16
20 Alessio Deledda HWA Racelab 2m01.486s +6.276s 16
21 Lirim Zendeli MP Motorsport 2m03.262s +8.052s 4
22 Marino Sato Trident 2m20.421s +25.211s 4