Lando Norris has won a thrilling qualifying battle to claim pole position on his second Formula 2 Championship outing.
The McLaren reserve driver planted his Carlin on pole position, just six-hundredths of a second faster than his countryman and long-time rival George Russell to lead an all-British front row.
The entire 20-car field was covered by less than 1.6 seconds – all bar the slowest four were within 0.7 seconds of Norris’ pole time – and the session proved frenetic as the timing screens constantly shuffled.
Norris’ teammate Sergio Sette Câmara was the first driver to post a truly representative lap time in the 1m42s range, but the Brazilian was swiftly demoted by Russell, who held top spot by less than 0.1 seconds until the session’s halfway point.
The field peeled into the pits for a fresh set of Pirelli Soft tyres in an attempt to improve on their first lap times.
Rookie driver Arjun Maini looked on course to put himself in the top six, but the Indian had a scrappy middle sector in his Trident and would ultimately line up fourteenth-fastest.
Russell put the hammer down on his second set of tyres, posting purple sectors to lower his provisional lap by half a second.
Alexander Albon looked to threaten in his DAMS, but fell narrowly short of usurping the Briton with a time just 0.027 seconds slower.
The focus then shifted to Norris, who clocked purple first and middle sectors. He made a mistake at the final corner and ran wide, but despite this the youngster still managed to snatch pole position by 0.062 seconds to earn his and the Carlin team’s pole position at the first attempt.
Nyck de Vries popped into fourth place in his PREMA, while Louis Delétraz surprised by giving Charouz Racing System an encouraging fifth on the Czech team’s Formula 2 debut.
Sette Câmara qualified sixth-fastest in the second Carlin ahead of an all-Japanese fourth row of the grid featuring Nirei Fukuzumi (Arden) and Tadasuke Makino (Russian Time). Their fellow rookies Jack Aitken (ART) and Maximilian Günther (Arden) rounded out the top-ten qualifiers.
The opening Feature Race will be held over 32 laps, starting at 13:00 local time (GMT +3).
|2017 FIA Formula 2 Championship Race of Bahrain – Qualifying Results|
|Driver||Team / Entry||Time||Gap|
|1.||Lando Norris||Carlin Motorsport||1:41.761|
|2.||George Russell||ART Grand Prix||1:41.823||+ 0.062|
|3.||Alexander Albon||DAMS||1:41.850||+ 0.089|
|4.||Nyck de Vries||Pertamina Prema Theodore Racing||1:41.880||+ 0.119|
|5.||Louis Delétraz||Charouz Racing System||1:42.174||+ 0.413|
|6.||Sergio Sette Câmara||Carlin Motorsport||1:42.221||+ 0.460|
|7.||Nirei Fukuzumi||BWT Arden International||1:42.246||+ 0.485|
|8.||Tadasuke Makino||Russian Time||1:42.264||+ 0.503|
|9.||Jack Aitken||ART Grand Prix||1:42.282||+ 0.521|
|10.||Maximilian Günther||BWT Arden International||1:42.336||+ 0.575|
|11.||Antonio Fuoco||Charouz Racing System||1:42.342||+ 0.581|
|12.||Luca Ghiotto||Campos Vexatec Racing||1:42.414||+ 0.653|
|13.||Roberto Merhi||MP Motorsport||1:42.423||+ 0.662|
|14.||Arjun Maini||Trident Racing||1:42.437||+ 0.676|
|15.||Nicholas Latifi||DAMS||1:42.447||+ 0.686|
|16.||Ralph Boschung||MP Motorsport||1:42.460||+ 0.699|
|17.||Artem Markelov||Russian Time||1:42.816||+ 1.055|
|18.||Santino Ferrucci||Trident Racing||1:42.818||+ 1.057|
|19.||Sean Gelael||Pertamina Prema Theodore Racing||1:43.016||+ 1.255|
|20.||Roy Nissany||Campos Vexatec Racing||1:43.350||+ 1.589|
Image via FIA Formula 2 Championship