Tsunoda seals second F2 pole at Spa

Carlin’s Yuki Tsunoda (above)was in scintillating form around Spa-Francorchamps, taking pole for the second time this season in FIA Formula 2 Qualifying. The Red Bull Junior finished a tenth faster than Nikita Mazepin, who squeezed every drop of power out of his Hitech Grand Prix machine in his attempts to beat Tsunoda.

Mazepin settled for a career best Qualifying of P2, ahead of Nobuharu Matsushita, who will start in the top three for the first time this year.

Yuki Tsunoda of Japan and Carlin (7)  (Photo by Clive Mason – Formula 1/Formula 1 via Getty Images)

The rain that struck Formula 3 Qualifying earlier in the afternoon had passed by the time F2 got out there, which allowed the grid to feed out onto a dry circuit. Juri Vips’ first qualifying session couldn’t have gotten off to a worse start, as the DAMS’ driver was forced to pull off the road and stop with an issue without setting a time. The stewards wheeled his car behind the barriers and his day was done.

After swift work from the marshals, Roy Nissany completed his first full tour of Spa as the times began to come in. Teammate Marino Sato topped the early standings, with a time of 1:58.959.

The session was brought to a brief halt when the rear of Guilherme Samaia’s Campos started smoking. The Brazilian was quickly out of his machine, and the flames were put out, but his day was over and a red flag was required to get it moved.

The field were in a hurry to set some fast laps when running resumed and Tsunoda got the best of the lot, at the end of the first full run for everyone. The Carlin racer lapped two tenths faster than his nearest rival Mick Schumacher.

Mazepin was already on for his best qualifying of the year at the halfway point, but he returned from his tire change wanting even more. He briefly held P1, after a stunning middle sector, but Tsunoda looked to be on another level around Spa. The Red Bull junior found even more pace from his Carlin to reclaim first from the Russian.

Nobuhara Matsushita of Japan and MP Motorsport (14)  (Photo by Lars Baron/Getty Images)

Matsushita followed up his stunning Feature Race win in the previous round at Barcelona with his best qualifying of the year in third place, only two tenths off the pace.

Robert Shwartzman settled for fourth, as Felipe Drugovich made it two MP Motorsport machines in the top five. Guanyu Zhou clinched sixth, ahead of Schumacher, Louis Delétraz, Jehan Daruvala and Luca Ghiotto.

Championship leader Callum Ilott finished outside the top three for the first time in 2020 and will start the Feature Race back in P12.

Tsunoda will be looking for his second win of the season in the Feature Race tomorrow, when the lights go out at 3.45pm local time.

F2 Qualifying Results

1 Yuki Tsunoda Carlin 1m57.593s
2 Nikita Mazepin Hitech Grand Prix 0.128s
3 Nobuharu Matsushita MP Motorsport 0.251s
4 Robert Shwartzman Prema Racing 0.268s
5 Felipe Drugovich MP Motorsport 0.421s
6 Guanyu Zhou UNI-Virtuosi 0.429s
7 Mick Schumacher Prema Racing 0.483s
8 Louis Deletraz Charouz Racing System 0.487s
9 Jehan Daruvala Carlin 0.544s
10 Luca Ghiotto Hitech Grand Prix 0.575s
11 Pedro Piquet Charouz Racing System 0.601s
12 Callum Ilott UNI-Virtuosi 0.666s
13 Marcus Armstrong ART Grand Prix 0.725s
14 Dan Ticktum DAMS 0.798s
15 Roy Nissany Trident 0.985s
16 Marino Sato Trident 1.366s
17 Jack Aitken Campos Racing 1.414s
18 Christian Lundgaard ART Grand Prix 1.486s
19 Artem Markelov BWT HWA RACELAB 1.614s
20 Giuliano Alesi BWT HWA RACELAB 5.398s
Guilherme Samaia Campos Racing 33.201s
Juri Vips DAMS