Leclerc sets the pace in Bahrain
Monegasque ace quickest in dry/wet/dry Day 1
Charles Leclerc has set the bar for the second FIA Formula 2 pre-season test by topping the timesheets this morning at the Bahrain International Circuit: the PREMA Racing man’s best laptime remained unchallenged in a dry/wet/dry afternoon session
The session opened to the expected warm temperatures, with all drivers making use of their first set of medium Pirelli compounds as they ran through the usual installation routines, running in and out of the pitlane a number of times as the teams studied the data. Jordan King was the only driver to set a laptime for the first third of the session, with Sergio Sette Camara taking over on the timesheets at the halfway mark.
Soon after the pace started to pick up, and the PREMA pairing of Leclerc and Antonio Fuoco were the first drivers to set competitive times, with the Monegasque driver setting the target with what would ultimately be the top time of the morning session. With an hour remaining King improved to split the teammates and grab P2, with Nobuharu Matsushita improving to 3rd shortly after.
In the closing stages of the session the pace improved all along the pitlane, with Luca Ghiotto grabbing P3 with 30 minutes remaining, but as the chequered flag dropped no one was able to beat Leclerc’s time: the top 12 drivers were within a second of his best lap.
Following a two hour break, the pitlane went green under grey skies with King the early pace-setter, but twenty minutes into the session the rain started to fall over the track. Another twenty minutes later, it intensified sending all cars back into the pits.
After the rain had stopped, Nyck De Vries was the first man back out and on wet tyres. With one hour left on the clock, the slicks were back along with the sun. In the final thirty minutes, the Rapax pair of De Vries and Johnny Cecotto took control of the timesheets, the Dutchman ahead of the Venezuelan. Ghiotto also put his head down and edged out De Vries. With ten minutes remaining in the session, the proceedings were halted after Artem Markelov stopped at Turn 8.
The pitlane went live again with all cars rushing to get the most out of the final three minutes. As the chequered flag dropped, Matsushita lit all three sectors in purple to go top. Delétraz also put together a strong lap and improved in all sectors, but not enough to steal the Japanese’s thunder.
After the dust settled, it was found that Fuoco, Matsushita, Delétraz, Cecotto and Sergio Canamasas had failed to respect a red flag prompted after Boschung had a technical issue on track. The best laptimes of the culprits were deleted hence promoting Ghiotto, King and de Vries to the top 3.
Tomorrow’s session will open at 9am local time.
|1.||Charles Leclerc||PREMA Racing||1:41.454||15|
|2.||Jordan King||MP Motorsport||1:41.634||10|
|3.||Luca Ghiotto||RUSSIAN TIME||1:41.700||15|
|4.||Norman Nato||Pertamina Arden||1:41.718||10|
|5.||Nobuharu Matsushita||ART Grand Prix||1:41.777||15|
|8.||Alexander Albon||ART Grand Prix||1:42.110||17|
|9.||Nyck de Vries||Rapax||1:42.121||7|
|10.||Antonio Fuoco||PREMA Racing||1:42.167||15|
|11.||Artem Markelov||RUSSIAN TIME||1:42.201||13|
|12.||Louis Delétraz||Racing Engineering||1:42.353||11|
|14.||Sean Gelael||Pertamina Arden||1:42.632||9|
|15.||Ralph Boschung||Campos Racing||1:42.890||15|
|18.||Sergio Sette Camara||MP Motorsport||1:43.126||20|
|19.||Gustav Malja||Racing Engineering||1:43.263||14|
|20.||Raoul Hyman||Campos Racing||1:43.926||19|
|1.||Luca Ghiotto||RUSSIAN TIME||1:42.003||18|
|2.||Jordan King||MP Motorsport||1:42.246||25|
|3.||Nyck De Vries||Rapax||1:42.307||20|
|4.||Ralph Boschung||Campos Racing||1:43.033||25|
|6.||Artem Markelov||RUSSIAN TIME||1:43.786||18|
|7.||Alexander Albon||ART Grand Prix||1:43.835||22|
|8.||Raoul Hyman||Campos Racing||1:44.050||22|
|9.||Nobuharu Matsushita||ART Grand Prix||1:44.581||15|
|10.||Louis Delétraz||Racing Engineering||1:44.728||27|
|12.||Norman Nato||Pertamina Arden||1:46.154||32|
|15.||Charles Leclerc||PREMA Racing||1:46.499||19|
|16.||Antonio Fuoco||PREMA Racing||1:47.687||19|
|17.||Sean Gelael||Pertamina Arden||1:48.224||22|
|19.||Gustav Malja||Racing Engineering||1:54.155||17|
|20.||Sergio Sette Camara||MP Motorsport||1:55.799||7|