Leclerc sets the pace in Bahrain

Charles Leclerc
Charles Leclerc

Charles Leclerc has set the bar for the second FIA Formula 2 pre-season test by topping the timesheets this morning at the Bahrain International Circuit: the PREMA Racing man’s best laptime remained unchallenged in a dry/wet/dry afternoon session

The session opened to the expected warm temperatures, with all drivers making use of their first set of medium Pirelli compounds as they ran through the usual installation routines, running in and out of the pitlane a number of times as the teams studied the data. Jordan King was the only driver to set a laptime for the first third of the session, with Sergio Sette Camara taking over on the timesheets at the halfway mark.

Soon after the pace started to pick up, and the PREMA pairing of Leclerc and Antonio Fuoco were the first drivers to set competitive times, with the Monegasque driver setting the target with what would ultimately be the top time of the morning session. With an hour remaining King improved to split the teammates and grab P2, with Nobuharu Matsushita improving to 3rd shortly after.

In the closing stages of the session the pace improved all along the pitlane, with Luca Ghiotto grabbing P3 with 30 minutes remaining, but as the chequered flag dropped no one was able to beat Leclerc’s time: the top 12 drivers were within a second of his best lap.

Following a two hour break, the pitlane went green under grey skies with King the early pace-setter, but twenty minutes into the session the rain started to fall over the track. Another twenty minutes later, it intensified sending all cars back into the pits.

After the rain had stopped, Nyck De Vries was the first man back out and on wet tires. With one hour left on the clock, the slicks were back along with the sun. In the final thirty minutes, the Rapax pair of De Vries and Johnny Cecotto took control of the timesheets, the Dutchman ahead of the Venezuelan. Ghiotto also put his head down and edged out De Vries. With ten minutes remaining in the session, the proceedings were halted after Artem Markelov stopped at Turn 8.

The pitlane went live again with all cars rushing to get the most out of the final three minutes. As the chequered flag dropped, Matsushita lit all three sectors in purple to go top. Delétraz also put together a strong lap and improved in all sectors, but not enough to steal the Japanese’s thunder.

After the dust settled, it was found that Fuoco, Matsushita, Deletraz, Cecotto and Sergio Canamasas had failed to respect a red flag prompted after Boschung had a technical issue on track. The best laptimes of the culprits were deleted hence promoting Ghiotto, King and de Vries to the top 3.

Tomorrow’s session will open at 9am local time.

Day 1 Morning results

Pos

Driver

Team

Laptime

Laps

1.

Charles Leclerc

PREMA Racing

1:41.454

15

2.

Jordan King

MP Motorsport

1:41.634

10

3.

Luca Ghiotto

RUSSIAN TIME

1:41.700

15

4.

Norman Nato

Pertamina Arden

1:41.718

10

5.

Nobuharu Matsushita

ART Grand Prix

1:41.777

15

6.

Oliver Rowland

DAMS

1:42.005

7

7.

Nicholas Latifi

DAMS

1:42.104

5

8.

Alexander Albon

ART Grand Prix

1:42.110

17

9.

Nyck de Vries

Rapax

1:42.121

7

10.

Antonio Fuoco

PREMA Racing

1:42.167

15

11.

Artem Markelov

RUSSIAN TIME

1:42.201

13

12.

Louis Delétraz

Racing Engineering

1:42.353

11

13.

Johnny Cecotto

Rapax

1:42.596

11

14.

Sean Gelael

Pertamina Arden

1:42.632

9

15.

Ralph Boschung

Campos Racing

1:42.890

15

16.

Sergio Canamasas

Trident

1:42.950

13

17.

Nabil Jeffri

Trident

1:42.964

15

18.

Sergio Sette Camara

MP Motorsport

1:43.126

20

19.

Gustav Malja

Racing Engineering

1:43.263

14

20.

Raoul Hyman

Campos Racing

1:43.926

19


Day 1 Afternoon results

Pos

Driver

Team

Laptime

Laps

1.

Luca Ghiotto

RUSSIAN TIME

1:42.003

18

2.

Jordan King

MP Motorsport

1:42.246

25

3.

Nyck De Vries

Rapax

1:42.307

20

4.

Ralph Boschung

Campos Racing

1:43.033

25

5.

Johnny Cecotto

Rapax

1:43.722

10

6.

Artem Markelov

RUSSIAN TIME

1:43.786

18

7.

Alexander Albon

ART Grand Prix

1:43.835

22

8.

Raoul Hyman

Campos Racing

1:44.050

22

9.

Nobuharu Matsushita

ART Grand Prix

1:44.581

15

10.

Louis Delétraz

Racing Engineering

1:44.728

27

11.

Nabil Jeffri

Trident

1:45.378

14

12.

Norman Nato

Pertamina Arden

1:46.154

32

13.

Nicholas Latifi

DAMS

1:46.211

36

14.

Oliver Rowland

DAMS

1:46.358

22

15.

Charles Leclerc

PREMA Racing

1:46.499

19

16.

Antonio Fuoco

PREMA Racing

1:47.687

19

17.

Sean Gelael

Pertamina Arden

1:48.224

22

18.

Sergio Canamasas

Trident

1:54.103

22

19.

Gustav Malja

Racing Engineering

1:54.155

17

20.

Sergio Sette Camara

MP Motorsport

1:55.799

7

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