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||1:28.031|
|2.||Nicholas Latifi||DAMS||1:28.212||+ 0.181|
|3.||Guan Yu Zhou||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||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|
- 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