Sérgio Sette Câmara will start the Formula 2 Feature Race at the Circuit Paul Ricard from pole position after finishing fastest in a disrupted qualifying session.

The DAMS driver, who was also fastest in Friday’s earlier free practice session, set the early pace in qualifying and held provisional pole position from ART Grand Prix’s Nyck de Vries at the end of the opening runs.

De Vries was able to improve his lap time on his second run, but a further attempt to better his lap time was thwarted by a red flag interruption brought about by Trident’s Ralph Boschung being forced to stop his car with a reported loss of power.

The session was resumed with just three minutes left on the clock, with a queue of driver jostling for track position to attempt one final flying lap.

Sette Câmara spun on his final attempt, but his earlier time proved good enough to keep him on pole. The final laps posted by Guan Yu Zhou (UNI-Virtuosi) and Jack Aitken (Campos Racing) bumped de Vries down to fourth at the death.

Sauber Junior Team’s Callum Ilott qualified a fine fifth-fastest ahead of current points leader Nicholas Latifi, who had earlier spent time driving for Williams in the opening Formula 1 practice session.

Carlin’s Nobuhara Matsushita was seventh-quickest ahead of PREMA’s Mick Schumacher, while the top ten was rounded out by the second Campos Racing and PREMA entries of Dorian Boccolacci and Sean Gelael respectively.

It proved to be a rather chaotic qualifying session overall, with the Boschung-induced red flag preceded by a suspension in the opening few minutes brought about by a collision between Carlin’s Louis Delétraz and the Trident of Giuliano Alesi. The latter appeared to hit Delétraz as he tried to pass the Swiss driver on his out-lap, leaving Alesi out on the spot with broken front suspension and Delétraz limping back to the pits with a damaged rear wing.

A post-qualifying hearing with the FIA Stewards confirmed Alesi was to blame, continuing his error-ridden graduation to the Formula 2 Championship. The French youngster will be allowed to start Saturday’s Feature Race from the pit lane.

Also failing to post a time was the second ART Grand Prix entry of Nikita Mazepin, which suffered a suspected engine failure as he returned to the pits under the first red flag period.

Another driver to strike technical trouble was Monaco Sprint Race winner Anthoine Hubert, who was forced to pull his car off the circuit at Turn 1. The French youngster qualified fifteenth-fastest, two spots ahead of teammate Tatiana Calderón whose own qualifying struggles continued with a best lap almost four seconds off the pace.

2019 FIA Formula 2 Championship – France Qualifying Results
Driver Team / Entry Time Gap
1. Sérgio Sette Câmara DAMS 1:43.024
2. Guan Yu Zhou UNI Virtuosi Racing UNI-Virtuosi Racing 1:43.344 + 0.320
3. Jack Aitken Campos Racing 1:43.401 + 0.377
4. Nyck de Vries ART Grand Prix 1:43.453 + 0.429
5. Callum Ilott Sauber Junior Team by Charouz 1:43.565 + 0.541
6. Nicholas Latifi DAMS 1:43.650 + 0.626
7. Nobuharu Matsushita Carlin Motorsport 1:43.763 + 0.739
8. Mick Schumacher de Prema Racing 1:43.768 + 0.744
9. Dorian Boccolacci Campos Racing 1:43.812 + 0.788
10. Sean Gelael Prema Racing 1:43.895 + 0.871
11. Luca Ghiotto UNI Virtuosi Racing UNI-Virtuosi Racing 1:43.983 + 0.959
12. Louis Delétraz Carlin Motorsport 1:44.025 + 1.001
13. Juan Manuel Correa Sauber Junior Team by Charouz 1:44.120 + 1.096
14. Ralph Boschung Trident Racing 1:44.371 + 1.347
15. Anthoine Hubert BWT Arden 1:44.612 + 1.588
16. Jordan King MP Motorsport 1:44.882 + 1.858
17. Tatiana Calderón BWT Arden 1:47.006 + 3.982
18. Mahaveer Raghunathan MP Motorsport 1:48.374 + 5.350
Did Not Qualify Team / Entry Time Gap
DNQ. Nikita Mazepin ART Grand Prix no time
DNQ. Giuliano Alesi Trident Racing no time

Post-Qualifying Penalties:

  • Giuliano Alesi will start the France Feature Race from the pit lane for causing an avoidable collision with Louis Delétraz during Qualifying.

Images via FIA Formula 2 Championship

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Geoff Burke

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