ART Grand Prix’s Victor Martins scored a maiden Formula 2 pole position in a red-flagged qualifying session in Saudi Arabia.
The Alpine F1 junior lapped 0.7 seconds faster than fellow Formula 3 graduate Ollie Bearman before the session ended prematurely with two minutes remaining.
After leading a Prema one-two in Friday’s free practice, Bearman survived a brush with the wall on his first timed lap to lead qualifying with a 1m42.917s, the Ferrari junior bettering his practice benchmark by 0.6s.
Martins took over at the top by 0.151s with his first effort, with Campos Racing’s Kush Maini moving into second.
Arthur Leclerc then set 1m42.629s to head the standings for Campos Racing before Richard Verschoor brought out the red flags by spinning to a halt at turn 22. Martins improved on his time prior to the stoppage but remained second while Bearman moved back ahead of Maini into third.
There was a flurry of improvements once the action resumed, with Frederik Vesti briefly moving into provisional pole with 1m42.295s while Doohan moved up to third.
Bearman then displaced his team-mate from the top with a 1m42.070s, while MP Motorsports Jehan Daruvala recorded a lap 0.041s slower than the Briton to climb to second.
But Martins then registered a blistering lap of 1m41.326s which was 0.7s quicker than anybody else. His team-mate Theo Pourchaire improved to take third before the red flags were shown for a second time when Leclerc stopped on the outside of Turn 22 after appearing to sustain suspension damage during a brush with the wall.
The stoppage came as a blow to many drivers on improved laps, including Bearman who had to settle for second after the session was not resumed. Pourchaire remained third ahead of Doohan and Daruvala.
Ayuma Iwasa was sixth for DAMS ahead of Vesti, while Maini ended up eighth. Main’s team-mate Ralph Boschung ninth ahead ahead of Hitech’s Jak Crawford who provisionally took pole for the partially-reversed grid sprint race with the 10th quickest time.
Leclerc tumbled to 13th, while MP’s Dennis Hauger was another to be hampered by the late red flag which left him 15th.
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