Artem Markelov has claimed his and the Russian Time team’s first Formula 2 pole position at the outfit’s possible swansong event in Abu Dhabi.

The Russian driver, who has claimed four race wins to-date this season including the previous Sprint Race at Jerez, controlled proceedings in qualifying at the Yas Marina circuit. Under floodlights, he clocked a 1:47.181 to move to the top of the timesheets to finish two-tenths of a second clear of Race Engineering’s Nyck de Vries.

Newly-crowned champion Charles Leclerc had a rather off-form qualifying session by his standards and could manage no better than sixth-fastest, which left PREMA Racing teammate Antonio Fuoco as the outfit’s lead qualifier in third. Leclerc will therefore end his Formula 2 career as the equal all-time record holder of pole positions.

Sandwiched between the PREMA drivers were Oliver Rowland (DAMS) and Norman Nato (Arden), who claimed fourth and fifth respectively.

Markelov’s teammate Luca Ghiotto finished seventh-fastest, with Nobuharu Matsushita (ART) , Sérgio Sette Câmara (MP Motorsport) and practice pace-setter Alexander Albon (ART) rounding out the top 10.

Albon was subsequently excluded from the final qualifying results after officials were unable to extract the required fuel sample from his car. He will be forced to start both Saturday evening’s Feature Race and Sunday afternoon’s Sprint Race from the rear of the grid, continuing a frustrating run of bad luck for the Thai driver who has slipped to tenth overall in the championship standings.

McLaren protégé Lando Norris qualified 14th-fastest on his Formula 2 debut with Campos Racing. Ex-F1 driver Roberto Merhi, making another stand-in appearance with Rapax, was the second-slowest qualifier ahead of Nabil Jeffri (Trident) who was well off the pace.

Saturday’s 31-lap Feature Race will begin at 18:40 local time (GMT +3).

2017 FIA Formula 2 Championship Race of Abu Dhabi – Qualifying Results
Driver Team / Entry Time Gap
1. Artem Markelov Russian Time 1:47.181
2. Nyck de Vries Racing Engineering 1:47.387 + 0.206
3. Antonio Fuoco PREMA Racing 1:47.575 + 0.394
4. Oliver Rowland DAMS 1:47.617 + 0.436
5. Norman Nato Pertamina Arden 1:47.676 + 0.495
6. Charles Leclerc PREMA Racing 1:47.692 + 0.511
7. Luca Ghiotto Russian Time 1:47.853 + 0.572
8. Nobuharu Matsushita ART Grand Prix 1:47.759 + 0.578
9. Sergio Sette Câmara MP Motorsport 1:47.824 + 0.643
10. Álex Palou Campos Racing 1:48.127 + 0.946
11. Nicholas Latifi DAMS 1:48.201 + 1.020
12. Louis Delétraz Rapax 1:48.212 + 1.031
13. Lando Norris Campos Racing 1:48.404 + 1.223
14. Jordan King MP Motorsport 1:48.476 + 1.295
15. Santino Ferrucci Trident 1:48.538 + 1.357
16. Sean Gelael Pertamina Arden 1:48.609 + 1.428
17. Gustav Malja Racing Engineering 1:48.671 + 1.490
18. Roberto Merhi Rapax 1:48.794 + 1.613
19. Nabil Jeffri Trident 1:50.201 + 3.020
EXC. Alexander Albon ART Grand Prix excluded

Post-Qualifying Penalties:

  • Alexander Albon – who provisionally qualified 10th-fastest – was subsequently excluded from qualifying after officials were unable to extract the required fuel sample from his car. He will start both the Feature Race and Sprint Race from the back of the grid.

Image via FIA Formula 2 Championship

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Richard Bailey

Founder & Chief Editor at MotorsportM8
Hasn't missed a Grand Prix since 1989. Has a soft spot for Minardi. Tattooed with 35+ Grand Prix circuits.