Sérgio Sette Câmara has topped the final qualifying session of the 2019 FIA Formula 2 Championship season and will start Saturday night’s Feature Race at the Yas Marina Circuit from pole position.

The DAMS driver was fastest in the day’s earlier practice session and carried that form into qualifying to claim his second pole position of the season. The Brazilian’s result strengthens DAMS’ prospects of claiming the Teams’ Championship title, holding a 53-point advantage over second-placed UNI-Virtuosi.

Carlin Motorsport’s Louis Delétraz posted the first representative time of the session with a 1:50.128 before he was displaced by Sauber Junior Team’s Callum Ilott who edged him by less than one-hundredth of a second.

Newly-crowned champion Nyck de Vries, fresh from an impressive Formula E Championship debut for Mercedes-Benz last weekend in Saudi Arabia, was one of five drivers to run an alternate qualifying strategy by attempting his flying laps midway through the session when the majority of the field returned to the pits.

The Dutchman, along Nicholas Latifi and Jack Aitken, then hit the circuit with Latifi going fourth-fastest before he was displaced by de Vries on his next flying lap. The ART Grand Prix driver should have gone quicker but for a lock-up in the final sector.

Armed with fresh rubber, Sette Câmara leapt to the fore and claimed provisional pole position from Ilott. The Briton, along with Delétraz, counterattacked and both improved their lap times on their second run but neither could displace Sette Câmara from top spot.

Any hopes of further improvements in the final minutes were dashed when Sean Gelael clipped the kerb and spun his PREMA in the middle of the straight. The yellow flags prevented anyone from going quicker, guaranteeing Sette Câmara would claim pole position.

Ilott will start on the front row, with an all-Carlin second row of Delétraz and Nobuhara Matsushita. A strong second run by Guan Yu Zhou secured the UNI-Virtuosi driver fifth on the grid ahead of de Vries, Latifi and Aitken.

De Vries’ teammate Nikita Mazepin qualified ninth-fastest, however the Russian will start from the back of the grid thanks to a 15-place grid penalty for causing the opening lap pile-up at the Sochi Sprint Race. PREMA’s Mick Schumacher completed the top-ten.

Saturday’s 31-lap Feature Race gets underway at 18:45 local time (GMT +4).

2019 FIA Formula 2 Championship – Abu Dhabi Qualifying Results
Driver Team / Entry Time Gap
1. Sérgio Sette Câmara DAMS 1:49.751
2. Callum Ilott Sauber Junior Team by Charouz 1:49.840 + 0.089
3. Louis Delétraz Carlin Motorsport 1:49.931 + 0.180
4. Nobuharu Matsushita Carlin Motorsport 1:50.157 + 0.406
5. Guan Yu Zhou UNI Virtuosi Racing UNI-Virtuosi Racing 1:50.190 + 0.439
6. Nyck de Vries ART Grand Prix 1:50.288 + 0.537
7. Nicholas Latifi DAMS 1:50.303 + 0.552
8. Jack Aitken Campos Racing 1:50.520 + 0.769
9. Nikita Mazepin ART Grand Prix 1:50.618 + 0.867
10. Mick Schumacher Prema Racing 1:50.652 + 0.901
11. Luca Ghiotto UNI Virtuosi Racing UNI-Virtuosi Racing 1:50.858 + 1.107
12. Giuliano Alesi Trident Racing 1:50.920 + 1.169
13. Jordan King MP Motorsport 1:51.174 + 1.423
14. Artem Markelov BWT Arden 1:51.412 + 1.661
15. Matevos Isaakyan Sauber Junior Team by Charouz 1:51.522 + 1.771
16. Marino Sato Campos Racing 1:51.829 + 2.078
17. Sean Gelael Prema Racing 1:51.884 + 2.133
18. Christian Lundgaard Trident Racing 1:52.140 + 2.389
19. Tatiana Calderón BWT Arden 1:52.412 + 2.661
20. Mahaveer Raghunathan MP Motorsport 1:53.363 + 3.612

Post-Qualifying Penalties:

  • Nikita Mazepin – who provisionally qualified P9 – will serve a 15-place grid penalty in the Feature Race for causing a collision with Nobuhara Matsushita in the Sochi Sprint Race.
  • Mahaveer Raghunathan – who provisionally qualified P20 – will start the Feature Race from the pit lane for not correctly following the practice start procedures in Free Practice.

Image via FIA Formula 2 Championship

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Geoff Burke

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