Monaco, Qual.: Albon grabs third successive pole!

Thai driver beats de Vries to top spot by one hundredth of a second

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By Olivier Ferret

24 May 2018 - 14:45
Monaco, Qual.:  Albon grabs third (...)

Alexander Albon took his third consecutive pole position in an action-packed FIA Formula 2 Championship qualifying session at Monte Carlo, Monaco, the DAMS driver clocking in a 1:21.727 lap to stave off Nyck de Vries by 0.01s for the fastest time, while Artem Markelov (RUSSIAN TIME) will start from third in tomorrow’s feature race.

Group A Qualifying session

Qualifying was split into two groups, with Santino Ferrucci leading the first half of the field out onto the circuit, with Markelov and Lando Norris in hot pursuit. Norris soon passed the pair to record the first flying lap, Jack Aitken challenging his compatriot’s time, but the pack soon retreated to the pits to put on sets of fresh supersoft tyres.

Markelov - one of the first to make the switch to new tyres - beat Norris’ time, but the Carlin driver seemed destined to put the Russian in the shade with a pair of purple opening sectors. However, the Brit hit the wall on the exit of the Piscine complex, breaking his front wing and ending his hopes of securing pole position. Ferrucci briefly led the session before Markelov reclaimed top spot, the RUSSIAN TIME driver looking busy at the steering wheel throughout the lap.

Albon then hurled his way to the head of the timesheets, overcoming Markelov’s benchmark by a tenth to grab first place - the Thai driver’s time holding firm in the final stages of the session.

Group B Qualifying session

The second group then took to the circuit moments later, Arjun Maini first on scene ahead of George Russell and Sergio Sette Camara – Maini opening with the first flying lap. Sette Camara challenged with a quick first sector, but the Trident driver’s time was ultimately beaten by de Vries before the mid-session pitstop phase.

Once the field had collected new tyres, Sette Camara dipped below de Vries’ time before the Dutchman attempted to charge back, but came across a slow Luca Ghiotto while on a quick lap. Undeterred, de Vries used the next lap to surge to the top of the timesheets of the second group, just one hundredth of a second behind Albon’s previous benchmark. With little chance of anyone improving, the second session came to an abrupt end with moments left on the clock after Sette Camara hit the wall at turn 1 to bring out a red flag.

With the results aggregated, Albon and de Vries occupy the front row, with Markelov starting alongside Sette Camara behind them. Antonio Fuoco starts from fifth, ahead of countryman Luca Ghiotto. Maximilian Günther and Arjun Maini start tomorrow’s race from seventh and eighth, while Ferrucci and Ralph Boschung complete the top ten.

As the current title contenders are dispersed among the grid, and with the potential for a drama-filled event, tomorrow’s race promises to provide plenty of intrigue amid the streets of Monte Carlo.

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