Nyck de Vries will be seeking back-to-back race wins after clinching pole position for the Formula 2 Championship’s Feature Race at Monaco.

The ART Grand Prix driver, who claimed his first win of the 2019 season last time out in the Sprint Race at Barcelona, was the fastest overall driver in the series’ unique split qualifying format and will be joined on the front row by series rookie Callum Ilott (Sauber Junior Team by Charouz).

Formula 1’s feeder series runs a split qualifying format on the streets of the Principality where the odd- and even-number entries are respectively split into two qualifying groups, with each given just sixteen minutes and one set of tyres to post their best lap time. The group with the fastest overall driver will then start the Feature Race from the odd-numbered grid positions, while the group with the second fastest driver will start from the even-numbered grid positions.

The exact starting order would be shuffled for a handful of drivers with news ahead of qualifying that championship leader Nicholas Latifi would be issued a three-place grid penalty for an infringement in Thursday morning’s Free Practice session. The DAMS driver qualified third-fastest in his group and fifth-fastest overall, but will start the Feature Race from eight position.

De Vries was in the second qualifying group and with track conditions marginally better, he and Luca Ghiotto (UNI-Virtuosi) were the only drivers to dip into the 1m20s barrier during their session. De Vries’ best time, a 1:20.676 on his second run, secured him pole position and four bonus championship points.

The Dutch driver’s time was comfortably quicker than the Ilott’s best effort in the first group’s qualifying session. The Englishman just managed to edge out fellow rookie Mick Schumacher (PREMA Racing) by a mere 0.007 seconds.

Ghiotto added insult to Latifi’s injury by bumping the Canadian to third-fastest in their session with a time 0.248 seconds slower than the Dutch youngster. Latifi’s penalty also promotes McLaren junior Sérgio Sette Câmara into fifth place on the Feature Race grid, with Sean Gelael (PREMA Racing) and Anthoine Hubert (BWT Arden) also gaining one grid position.

Carlin Racing teammates Nobuhara Matsushita and Louis Delétraz locked out the fifth row of the grid.

Substituting for Jordan King – who is contesting the Indianapolis 500 this weekend – 2018 series runner-up and former Monaco Feature Race winner Artem Markelov will start from eleventh place in his one-off outing for the Dutch team.

It was a nightmare qualifying session for championship frontrunner and Renault Formula 1 junior driver Jack Aitken. The Campos Racing driver had an untidy middle sector on his final flying lap and was then badly baulked by MP Motorsport rookie Mahaveer Raghunathan.

Mahaveer Raghunathan, MP Motorsport - 2019 Formula 2 Monaco

F2’s mobile chicane: A rare photo of Mahaveer Raghunathan not holding up another driver.

The Indian driver has looked completely out of his depth in his graduation to Formula 2 and was over five seconds off the pace in their qualifying group – if de Vries’ time (posted in the other group session) had been the benchmark lap then the MP Motorsport driver would not have made the 107% cut-off to qualify.

With the Formula 1 field having a traditional ‘rest day’ on Friday, the Formula 2 Championship will take centre stage with its 42-lap Feature Race starting at 11:30 local time (UTC +2).

2019 FIA Formula 2 Championship – Monaco Qualifying Results (Group A)
Grid Driver Team / Entry Time Gap
2. Callum Ilott Sauber Junior Team by Charouz 1:21.462
4. Mick Schumacher de Prema Racing 1:21.469 + 0.007
5. Sérgio Sette Câmara DAMS 1:21.537 + 0.075
7. Anthoine Hubert BWT Arden 1:21.675 + 0.213
10. Louis Delétraz Carlin Motorsport 1:21.936 + 0.474
12. Nikita Mazepin ART Grand Prix 1:22.089 + 0.627
14. Ralph Boschung Trident Racing 1:22.233 + 0.771
16. Guan Yu Zhou UNI Virtuosi Racing UNI-Virtuosi Racing 1:22.772 + 1.310
18. Jack Aitken Campos Racing 1:22.877 + 1.415
20. Mahaveer Raghunathan MP Motorsport 1:26.522 + 5.060
2019 FIA Formula 2 Championship – Monaco Qualifying Results (Group B)
Grid Driver Team / Entry Time Gap
1. Nyck de Vries ART Grand Prix 1:20.676
3. Luca Ghiotto UNI Virtuosi Racing UNI-Virtuosi Racing 1:20.924 + 0.248
8. Nicholas Latifi DAMS 1:21.130 + 0.454
6. Sean Gelael Prema Racing 1:21.598 + 0.922
9. Nobuharu Matsushita Carlin Motorsport 1:21.807 + 1.131
11. Artem Markelov MP Motorsport 1:22.086 + 1.410
13. Dorian Boccolacci Campos Racing 1:22.290 + 1.614
15. Juan Manuel Correa Sauber Junior Team by Charouz 1:22.437 + 1.761
17. Giuliano Alesi Trident Racing 1:22.785 + 2.109
19. Tatiana Calderón BWT Arden 1:24.791 + 4.115

Post-Qualifying Penalties:

  • Nicholas Latifi will serve a three-place grid penalty for the Monaco Feature Race for crissing the white line at the exit of the pit lane under red flag conditions during Free Practice.

Images via FIA Formula 2 Championship

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Geoff Burke

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