Nyck de Vries’ strong run of form in the second half of the 2018 FIA Formula 2 Championship season has continued, with the McLaren junior driver claiming his second pole position of 2018 for Saturday’s Feature Race at the Sochi Autodrom.

The PREMA Theodore Racing driver, who has already won three races this season including two of the last three Feature Races in Hungary and Belgium, withstood a late challenge from Carlin’s Lando Norris to secure his second pole position by two-tenths of a second.

Championship leader George Russell held provisional pole for much of the session before he was unseated by a late effort from de Vries. To rub further salt in the wound, the Mercedes junior was demoted to third place on the grid in the dying minutes of play by his chief title rival Norris.

Norris, who will graduate to a McLaren Formula 1 drive next year, has suffered from largely indifferent form in qualifying for much of the season that has seen the Englishman overtaken in the points’ standings by Russell. He now trails his compatriot by 22 points, with the four bonus points on offer for pole instead going to de Vries.

The DAMS pairing of Nicholas Latifi and championship outsider Alexander Albon claimed fourth and fifth on the grid, while Luca Ghiotto put his Campos Racing entry into sixth ahead of surprise Monza Feature Race winner Tadasuke Makino, Norris’ teammate Sergio Sette Câmara, Russell’s teammate Jack Aitken, and Maximilian Günther (BWT Arden).

Makino’s Russian Time teammate Artem Markelov had a disastrous qualifying session at his home event and was the slowest of the 20-car field to post a representative time. The Renault academy driver – who, like Norris, has been completely inconsistent in qualifying – will have to rely once again on an aggressive alternate strategy to make headway in Saturday’s Feature Race.

Starting alongside him on the back row of the grid is Trident’s Arjun Maini, who spun off early in the session and was forced to abandon his stalled car.

Saturday’s 28-lap Feature Race gets underway at 16:45 local time (GMT +2).

2018 FIA Formula 2 Championship Race of Russia – Qualifying Results
Driver Team / Entry Time Gap
1. Nyck de Vries Pertamina Prema Theodore Racing 1:46.476
2. Lando Norris Carlin Motorsport 1:46.696 + 0.220
3. George Russell ART Grand Prix 1:46.839 + 0.363
4. Nicholas Latifi DAMS 1:46.890 + 0.414
5. Alexander Albon DAMS 1:47.039 + 0.563
6. Luca Ghiotto it Campos Vexatec Racing 1:47.151 + 0.675
7. Tadasuke Makino Russian Time 1:47.372 + 0.896
8. Sergio Sette Câmara Carlin Motorsport 1:47.384 + 0.908
9. Jack Aitken ART Grand Prix 1:47.634 + 1.158
10. Maximilian Günther de BWT Arden International 1:47.743 + 1.267
11. Antonio Fuoco Charouz Racing System 1:47.774 +1.298
12. Roberto Merhi Campos Vexatec Racing 1:47.854 + 1.378
13. Alessio Lorandi Trident Racing 1:48.006 + 1.530
14. Louis Delétraz Charouz Racing System 1:48.105 + 1.629
15. Sean Gelael Pertamina Prema Theodore Racing 1:48.154 + 1.678
16. Niko Kari fi MP Motorsport 1:48.206 + 1.730
17. Nirei Fukuzumi BWT Arden International 1:48.327 + 1.851
18. Dorian Boccolacci es MP Motorsport 1:48.491 + 2.015
19. Artem Markelov Russian Time 1:48.568 + 2.092
DNQ. Arjun Maini in Trident Racing 2:14.971 + 28.495

Post-Qualifying Penalties:

  • None

Image via FIA Formula 2 Championship

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Geoff Burke

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