Callum Ilott took an emotional first FIA Formula 2 pole position at Monza, becoming just the second rookie driver to do so this season. The Sauber Junior Team by Charouz racer got his best lap time in early, as rain hampered the session and greased up the circuit.

The Brit, who is the sole representative for his team, fittingly put in his best ever performance, and later dedicated it to his teammate Juan Manuel Correa, who was injured in last week’s Feature Race at Spa. The Ferrari Academy driver topped a trio of rookies, finishing ahead of Guan Yu Zhou (UNI-Virtuosi Racing) and Nikita Mazepin (ART Grand Prix), who also scored his best ever Qualifying position.

Rain was falling as the cars first headed out onto the track and championship leader Nyck de Vries experienced the tribulations that come with a damp circuit first hand, as he wobbled at Turn 1. Luca Ghiotto was able to complete his lap smoothly and took an early lead, lapping in 1:37.906.

The Italian had finished on top in Free Practice and early indications pointed at another fruitful performance, with the UNI-Virtuosi racer further improving to strengthen his stranglehold on P1.

Just as Ghiotto looked to take control of the session, Ilott sailed around the circuit and snatched provisional pole. Zhou had a successful attempt at toppling him on the next tour of the track, but Ilott rose to the challenge and seized the spot back.

Shortly after, Nobuharu Matsushita lost control of his Carlin on the wet track and beached himself on the gravel, bringing out a red flag. Tatiana Calderón suffered the same fate, as she lightly brushed the barrier and had to retire as well.

When action resumed, Giuliano Alesi (Trident) and Marino Sato (Campos Racing) had further troubles with the increasingly wet circuit, but managed to regain control of their machines, to continue. Sector 2 was causing the most issues: De Vries twice went green on the first, but on each occasion, struggled on the second and couldn’t manage any higher than fourth place.

The remainder of the field had the same struggles and no one could improve enough to trouble the top three, as Ilott ran home ahead of Zhou and Mazepin. De Vries and Sérgio Sette Câmara completed the top five, followed by Matsushita, Nicholas Latifi, Jordan King, Mick Schumacher and Louis Delétraz.

Ilott will be aiming for his first ever win in the Championship when the cars take to the Autodromo Nazinoale Monza circuit, at 4.55pm local time.

2019 FIA Formula 2 Championship – Italy Qualifying Results
Driver Team / Entry Time Gap
1. Callum Ilott Sauber Junior Team by Charouz 1:33.887
2. Guan Yu Zhou UNI Virtuosi Racing UNI-Virtuosi Racing 1:34.030 + 0.143
3. Nikita Mazepin ART Grand Prix 1:34.063 + 0.176
EXC. Nyck de Vries ART Grand Prix 1:34.156 + 0.269
4. Sérgio Sette Câmara DAMS 1:34.272 + 0.385
5. Nobuharu Matsushita Carlin Motorsport 1:34.419 + 0.532
6. Nicholas Latifi DAMS 1:34.885 + 0.998
7. Jordan King MP Motorsport 1:34.944 + 1.057
8. Mick Schumacher de Prema Racing 1:35.082 + 1.195
9. Louis Delétraz Carlin Motorsport 1:35.101 + 1.214
10. Sean Gelael Prema Racing 1:35.148 + 1.261
11. Giuliano Alesi Trident Racing 1:35.310 + 1.423
12. Jack Aitken Campos Racing 1:35.547 + 1.660
13. Luca Ghiotto UNI Virtuosi Racing UNI-Virtuosi Racing 1:35.641 + 1.754
14. Marino Sato Campos Racing 1:36.709 + 2.822
15. Mahaveer Raghunathan MP Motorsport 1:37.027 + 3.140
Non-Qualifiers Team / Entry Time Gap
DNQ. Tatiana Calderón BWT Arden 1:46.667 + 12.780

Post-Qualifying Penalties:

  • Nyck de Vries – who provisionally qualified P4 – was excluded from qualifying when his car was unable to produce the minimum quantity of fuel for scrutineering.
  • Tatiana Calderón failed to qualify and will race at the discretion of the FIA Stewards.

De Vries Disqualified

Nyck de Vries has been disqualified from the results of today’s FIA Formula 2 Qualifying session, following a fuel infringement.

Competitors must ensure that a 0.8kg sample of fuel may be taken from the car at any time during the Event. De Vries’ car was not able to supply this sample when tested.

The stewards determined that ART Grand Prix made a miscalculation on the number of laps that had been completed, as an additional lap was completed and therefore the fuel load that had been calculated before the start of the session was insufficient.

As a consequence, the Dutchman has been disqualified from the results and all his lap times from the session have all been cancelled.

De Vries, who had originally classified fourth, has been given permission to start tomorrow’s Feature Race in a position to be determined by the stewards.

Images and text via FIA Formula 2 Championship

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Geoff Burke

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