Formula 2 Championship points leader Nyck de Vries’ red hot streak continues, with the ART Grand Prix driver claiming pole position at the Circuit Spa-Francorchamps.
The Dutch driver’s run to his fourth pole of the 2019 season was aided by a late red flag which brought qualifying to an early close and denied several of his rivals – most notably Nicholas Latifi – a shot at challenging his benchmark lap time.
DAMS’ Sérgio Sette Câmara was the first driver to claim top spot on the timesheets with a very pedestrian 2:23.620 as he bedded in his tyres, but the early action was brought to a halt when Callum Ilott was forced to park his Sauber Junior Team by Charouz machine on track with a mechanical failure.
Once the session resumed, de Vries and Nobuhara Matsushita (Carlin) swiftly moved up the order, with both posting purple sector times in a tit-for-tat scrap for the fastest provisional time. De Vries narrowly emerged on top, shading the Japanese driver to the tune of just 0.017 seconds at the end of their first runs.
A change of tyres saw little change between the leading duo, with both drivers beating their earlier times to remain first and second on the timesheets, ahead of Guan Yu Zhou (UNI-Virtuosi) and Matsushita’s teammate Louis Delétraz.
Quick lap times by Sette Câmara and Campos Racing’s Jack Aitken proved good enough to vault them into P2 and P3 respectively, with the pair completing their flying laps with seconds to spare before the red flags came out again.
The cause was a heavy accident for PREMA’s Sean Gelael, who slid off the circuit and hit the wall.
With insufficient time remaining to restart the session, the grid order was complete. De Vries secured pole position ahead of Sette Câmara, Aitken, Matsushita and Delétraz.
Completing the top-ten qualifiers were Gelael’s teammate and Hungary Sprint Race winner Mick Schumacher was seventh-fastest ahead of de Vries’ teammate Nikita Mazepin (who for once enjoyed a rare run of good luck in qualifying), MP Motorsport’s Jordan and the UNI-Virtuosi duo of Zhou and Luca Ghiotto.
It was a cruel session for de Vries’ closest title rival Nicholas Latifi, who had hit shot at improving his lap time ruined by the late red flag. The Canadian driver qualified eleventh-fastest, and with de Vries earning another four championship points for clinching pole, now sits 34 points behind his rival in the Drivers’ Championship standings.
|2019 FIA Formula 2 Championship – Belgium Qualifying Results|
|Driver||Team / Entry||Time||Gap|
|1.||Nyck de Vries||ART Grand Prix||1:58.304|
|2.||Sérgio Sette Câmara||DAMS||1:58.576||+ 0.272|
|3.||Jack Aitken||Campos Racing||1:58.785||+ 0.481|
|4.||Nobuharu Matsushita||Carlin Motorsport||1:58.832||+ 0.528|
|5.||Louis Delétraz||Carlin Motorsport||1:58.910||+ 0.606|
|6.||Mick Schumacher||Prema Racing||1:59.141||+ 0.837|
|7.||Nikita Mazepin||ART Grand Prix||1:59.142||+ 0.838|
|8.||Jordan King||MP Motorsport||1:59.366||+ 1.062|
|9.||Guan Yu Zhou||UNI Virtuosi Racing||1:59.425||+ 1.121|
|10.||Luca Ghiotto||UNI Virtuosi Racing||1:59.614||+ 1.310|
|11.||Nicholas Latifi||DAMS||1:59.747||+ 1.443|
|12.||Giuliano Alesi||Trident Racing||1:59.961||+ 1.657|
|13.||Anthoine Hubert||BWT Arden||2:00.005||+ 1.701|
|14.||Ralph Boschung||Trident Racing||2:00.030||+ 1.726|
|15.||Juan Manuel Correa||Sauber Junior Team by Charouz||2:00.250||+ 1.946|
|16.||Sean Gelael||Prema Racing||2:00.327||+ 2.023|
|17.||Marino Sato||Campos Racing||2:01.185||+ 2.881|
|18.||Mahaveer Raghunathan||MP Motorsport||2:01.226||+ 2.922|
|19.||Tatiana Calderón||BWT Arden||2:03.224||+ 4.920|
|Non-Qualifiers||Team / Entry||Time||Gap|
|DNQ.||Callum Ilott||Sauber Junior Team by Charouz||no time|
- Jordan King – who provisionally qualified 8th-fastest – will serve a three-place grid penalty for failing to slow sufficiently under yellow flag conditions.
- Mahaveer Raghunathan – who provisionally qualified 18th-fastest – will serve a three-place grid penalty for failing to slow sufficiently under yellow flag conditions.
Images via FIA Formula 2 Championship
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