Hungaroring, Qualif.: De Vries flies to Budapest pole

Dutchman dominant despite downpour

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By Olivier Ferret

2 August 2019 - 18:01
Hungaroring, Qualif.: De Vries (...)

Nyck de Vries continued his so far flawless weekend to claim an emphatic pole position in the wet, in today’s FIA Formula 2 Qualifying at the Hungaroring. The ART Grand Prix ace picked up where he left off in Free Practice to finish ahead of Championship rivals Luca Ghiotto and Nicholas Latifi.

The rain threatened to derail the session right from the start, as Nikita Mazepin succumbed to the slippery circuit and spun at Turn 7 on his out lap. The Russian was unable to get going again, which prompted a red flag so that the marshals could quickly whisk him off track.

At the restart, De Vries was the first back out there, but focused on testing the track limits with rain still pouring down, and lapped the Hungaroring in 1:50.820. Guanyu Zhou and Mick Schumacher opted for a similar strategy and nestled into third and fourth, with Luca Ghiotto coming closest to the Dutchman. The UNI-Virtuosi man lapped just 0.061s slower, eying up P1 with his next tour.

The Italian duly set a purple first sector, but a wobble in the third proved his undoing, as he was unable to beat his prior time. He had the same issue on his next lap as the rain began to take its toll on the field.

Latifi held his lap together and stole P1 from the clutches of his rival by 0.242s, as he coveted his first ever pole position in the category. Meanwhile, Schumacher had looked pacey in practice and nipped in-between the traffic at the start of a flying lap in his own bid for pole. The German was unrelenting in the rain and despite a slightly slow second sector, snatched second place with a searing lap.

It was then that De Vries came into his own, displaying his undeniable ability over one lap. The Championship leader smashed out three perfect purple sectors to break the 1m 50s barrier and take an unassailable lead at the top.

Ghiotto improved upon his time prior to the chequered flag, but couldn’t match the sheer speed of De Vries in the rain, who held on for pole position ahead of Latifi, Schumacher and Louis Delétraz. They were followed by Callum Ilott, Jack Aitken and Nobuharu Matsushita while Anthoine Hubert and Zhou completed the top ten.

Racing will resume on Saturday morning at 10.10am (local time) when De Vries will aim to continue his perfect start to Round 8 and add to his Championship lead. Following closely will be title rivals Ghiotto and Latifi, in what could be the tightest battle of the season yet. Don’t count against further downpour which would add extra spice to an already tasty looking race.

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