Luca Ghiotto overcame early struggles with his car’s handling to claim pole position for the Formula 2 Feature Race at the Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya.

The Italian, who was the early leader of the Drivers’ Championship standings thanks to his victory in the Feature Race in the season-opening Bahrain round, opted to attempt his first qualifying run during a mid-session lull when most of his rivals had completed their first qualifying runs.

The Italian initially claimed something was wrong with his UNI-Virtuosi car’s handling, ultimately posted a time of 1:28.492 which was less than one-tenth of a second shy of provisional pole sitter and Azerbaijan Feature Race winner Jack Aitken.

Aitken’s Campos Racing team also opted for an alternate qualifying strategy at their home event, sending the Briton and his teammate Dorian Boccolacci out early for their second qualifying runs in a bid to take advantage of a clear track. Aitken was able to better his initial time by a further five-hundredths of a second to extend his margin, but being unable to run in the final ten minutes of the session left him vulnerable in case track conditions improved.

He was soon demoted as others commenced their final runs. Championship leader Nicholas Latifi moved his DAMS into top spot with a 1:28.212 which, despite apparent braking issues, proved too good for Nyck de Vries (ART Grand Prix) and Guan Yu Zhou (UNI Virtuosi Racing) to beat.

Ghiotto’s second run proved too good, however, as the Italian moved to top spot and claimed pole position with an eventual 1:28.031 time. Latifi’s time was good enough for second, denying the UNI-Virtuosi team a front-row lockout.

De Vries ended the session fourth-fastest ahead of Aitken, with Ferrari junior driver Callum Ilott (Sauber Junior Team) sixth-quickest followed by DAMS’ Sérgio Sette Câmara.

Trident’s Ralph Boschung put in a strong showing to finish eighth-fastest, edging Boccolacci by just 0.001 seconds, with PREMA’s Mick Schumacher completing the top ten qualifiers.


2019 FIA Formula 2 Championship – Spain Qualifying Results
Driver Team / Entry Time Gap
1. Luca Ghiotto UNI Virtuosi Racing UNI-Virtuosi Racing 1:28.031
2. Nicholas Latifi DAMS 1:28.212 + 0.181
3. Guan Yu Zhou UNI Virtuosi Racing UNI-Virtuosi Racing 1:28.249 + 0.218
4. Nyck de Vries ART Grand Prix 1:28.266 + 0.235
5. Jack Aitken Campos Racing 1:28.335 + 0.324
6. Callum Ilott Sauber Junior Team by Charouz 1:28.470 + 0.439
7. Sérgio Sette Câmara DAMS 1:28.550 + 0.519
8. Ralph Boschung Trident Racing 1:28.580 + 0.549
9. Dorian Boccolacci Campos Racing 1:28.581 + 0.550
10. Mick Schumacher de Prema Racing 1:28.605 + 0.574
11. Nobuharu Matsushita Carlin Motorsport 1:28.683 + 0.652
12. Nikita Mazepin ART Grand Prix 1:28.758 + 0.727
13. Sean Gelael Prema Racing 1:28.761 + 0.730
14. Louis Delétraz Carlin Motorsport 1:28.869 + 0.838
15. Anthoine Hubert BWT Arden 1:28.980 + 0.949
16. Jordan King MP Motorsport 1:29.023 + 0.992
17. Giuliano Alesi Trident Racing 1:29.346 + 1.315
18. Tatiana Calderón BWT Arden 1:29.950 + 1.559
19. Juan Manuel Correa Sauber Junior Team by Charouz 1:30.171 + 2.140
20. Mahaveer Raghunathan MP Motorsport 1:30.691 + 2.660

Post-Qualifying Penalties:

  • Jack Aitken and Dorian Boccolacci will each serve a three-place grid penalty for the Spain Feature Race after the Campos Racing team was found to have used an undeclared rear part of the wooden plan during Free Practice 1.
  • Tatiana Calderón will serve a three-place grid penalty for the Spain Feature Race for causing an avoidable collision with Ralph Boschung and Louis Delétraz during the Azerbaijan Sprint Race.

Images via FIA Formula 2 Championship

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Geoff Burke

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