F2: Pourchaire blitzes to pole in Bahrain

Théo Pourchaire got his 2023 campaign off to a flying start, dominating Qualifying to take pole position by 0.7s from teammate Victor Martins. The ART Grand Prix duo carried over their speed from Practice, locking out the front row for the Feature Race.

With tire preparation laps out of the way, Ralph Boschung was the first driver to lay down a benchmark to beat. His 1:42.010 was two-tenths quicker than anybody until Pourchaire completed his initial effort to go P1 and immediately into the 1:41s. The ART driver put in three purple sectors to go almost half a second clear on a 1:41.530 with 10 minutes gone.

Still on their first set of tires, the second attempts filtered through with a few improvements further back as Arthur Leclerc moved up to third in his DAMS. That was until Martins improved to third himself, leaving Boschung as the only car ahead of an ART in second. His Campos Racing teammate Kush Maini was sixth at the halfway mark with Jack Doohan, Zane Maloney, Oliver Bearman and Richard Verschoor making up the rest of the top 10. Doohan opted to run in the gap while the track was quiet and moved himself into fourth with just over 10 minutes remaining of Qualifying. A small lock-up at Turn 10 left him 0.582s down on Pourchaire’s provisional pole time.

Boschung once again kicked off the improvements on the second runs and there were plenty of personal bests behind him too. Maini moved himself up to second before Verschoor displaced him on the front row. Further back though Pourchaire was flying once again. The ART driver nailed his second lap and went nine-tenths of a second clear of anybody in P1. Martins made it another ART 1-2 after his earlier Practice effort, but he too was some 0.7s down on his teammate.

There were a few further attempts on the second set of tires, but nobody could catch Pourchaire. Martins had been set to improve but ran wide at Turn 11, forcing him to give up on his subsequent attempt. Verschoor kept his P3 spot ahead of Hauger and Frederik Vesti. Maini ended his first F2 Qualifying session sixth ahead of Ayumu Iwasa, Leclerc, Roman Stanek and Boschung, who will start on reverse grid pole for the Sprint Race.

F2 Qualifying Results

Pos Driver Team Time Behind
1 Theo Pourchaire ART Grand Prix 1m40.903s 0.000s
2 Victor Martins ART Grand Prix 1m41.654s 0.751s
3 Richard Verschoor Van Amersfoort Racing 1m41.803s 0.900s
4 Dennis Hauger MP Motorsport 1m41.831s 0.928s
5 Frederik Vesti Prema Powerteam 1m41.897s 0.994s
6 Kush Maini Campos Racing 1m41.927s 1.024s
7 Ayumu Iwasa DAMS 1m41.934s 1.031s
8 Arthur Leclerc DAMS 1m41.973s 1.070s
9 Roman Staněk Trident 1m41.988s 1.085s
10 Ralph Boschung Campos Racing 1m42.010s 1.107s
11 Jehan Daruvala MP Motorsport 1m42.017s 1.114s
12 Oliver Bearman Prema Powerteam 1m42.026s 1.123s
13 Enzo Fittipaldi Rodin Carlin 1m42.049s 1.146s
14 Isack Hadjar Hitech Pulse-Eight 1m42.092s 1.189s
15 Amaury Cordeel Invicta Virtuosi Racing 1m42.092s 1.189s
16 Juan Manuel Correa Van Amersfoort Racing 1m42.109s 1.206s
17 Jack Doohan Invicta Virtuosi Racing 1m42.112s 1.209s
18 Zane Maloney Rodin Carlin 1m42.185s 1.282s
19 Jak Crawford Hitech Pulse-Eight 1m42.234s 1.331s
20 Brad Benavides PHM Racing by Charouz 1m42.493s 1.590s
21 Roy Nissany PHM Racing by Charouz 1m42.502s 1.599s
22 Clement Novalak Trident 1m42.570s 1.667s