Dutchman overcomes deleted time to secure quickest lap in Belgium
F2.SeanGP.com – Nyck de Vries produced a scintillating lap to secure pole in the FIA Formula 2 Championship Qualifying Session at Spa-Francorchamps, Belgium, setting the fastest middle sector by some margin en route to a 1:56.054 time. The PERTAMINA PREMA Theodore Racing driver watched the final five minutes from the pitwall, and saw his time remain unbeaten as ART Grand Prix’s George Russell will start alongside the Dutch driver in tomorrow’s Feature Race. Sergio Sette Camara for Carlin will start third.
A cool, overcast session began with Trident’s Arjun Maini first out of the blocks, leading Lando Norris, Jack Aitken and Sette Camara onto the circuit for the first round of laps. The honour of setting the first timed lap belonged to de Vries, but the Dutchman immediately hit trouble as his subsequent flying lap of a 1:56.450 was deleted for exceeding track limits. Norris then briefly took the reins, before Russell leapfrogged his championship rival to lead the first half of the session.
Having lost his time, de Vries sought vengeance, and wasted no time in returning to the circuit having pitted for fresh tyres. Rejoining an empty track, thanks to the customary lull in running at the session’s midpoint, de Vries immediately put the hammer down and – thanks to a middle sector almost half a second faster than anyone elses – fired his way up to provisional pole.
De Vries then retreated to the pits, and was left to watch the final five minutes of the session with his team as the rest of the field looked to beat his benchmark. Russell, Norris and Alexander Albon all seemed to be on course to overturn their deficits after each set impressive first sectors, but de Vries’ middle sector was untouchable, leaving all three to find themselves some way adrift.
Sette Camara then challenged, but the Brazilian’s time was only good enough for third as de Vries began to celebrate with the PREMA engineers with moments left on the clock. His pole position was cemented as Antonio Fuoco came to a stop on the Kemmel Straight, followed in short order by Norris who pulled up at the side of the road on the exit of Pouhon.
Alongside de Vries, Russell claimed his fifth front-row Feature Race start of the season, with Luca Ghiotto separating the Carlins of Sette Camara and Norris for fourth place. Albon was sixth with Fuoco seventh, while Nirei Fukuzumi enjoyed his best qualifying session in F2 with eighth. Louis Delétraz and Artem Markelov completed the top ten. (fiaformula2.com/ARL/WTO)