ART’s Frederick Vesti secured a maiden FIA Formula 2 pole position during a chaotic qualifying session at the Red Bull Ring where several drivers had laptimes deleted.
The Mercedes F1 junior was one of many to be penalised for exceeding track limits, but ended up 0.035 seconds faster than Hitech GP’s Juri Vips, with Silverstone feature race winner Logan Sargeant third.
Virtuosi’s Jack Doohan led the way at halfway stage of the 30-minute session with a time of 1m14.414s. Sargeant initially managed to get within 0.010s of Doohan’s time, but the Carlin driver’s effort was deleted for not remaining on track.
Having briefly moved up to second, Van Amersfoort Racing’s Jake Hughes had his time removed for the same reason, with his team-mate Amaury Cordeel then taking over the position on his return from a one-round ban.
Championship leader Felipe Drugovich moved into provisional pole on his second run with a 1m14.315s ahead of Doohan, who then had his effort taken away. Vesti then set a time of 1m14.123s to move to the top, before receiving a black and white warning flag for extending track limits on his next effort.
Vips and Sargeant also improved to move into second and third. As everyone headed back to the pits, DAMS’ Ayuma Iwasa managed to find time for one more flying lap, and a purple middle sector put him in contention for pole. But his final sector wasn’t quick enough, and the Red Bull junior had to settle for fourth.
Despite having a late effort deleted, Drugovich was fifth, 0.003s clear of Doohan. Cordeel secured his highest ever qualifying position of seventh ahead of Trident’s Richard Verschoor.
ART’s Theo Pourchaire benefitted from Hitech’s Marcus Armstrong and Carlin’s Liam Lawson having times removed to climb to ninth, crucially giving him a front row starting spot for Saturday’s sprint race. Amstrong held on to tenth by 0.032s from Prema’s Jehan Daruvala to take reversed-grid pole for the sprint.
Charouz’s Enzo Fittipaldi, another to exceed track limits, was 12th, while Lawson ended up 14th ahead of Prema’s Dennis Hauger.
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