Bahrain F2: Ilott takes dominant pole, Schumacher only 10th

Marcus Simmons
·4-min read

Ilott set an absolute flier at the wheel of his Virtuosi Racing car on his first push lap, and this was never approached by anybody else, meaning he has narrowed the gap from 22 points to 18 against series leader Schumacher, who will line up for Saturday’s race in 10th position. 

Ilott was over half a second clear of his closest rival, ART Grand Prix-run Ferrari protege Marcus Armstrong, on the first push laps. 

The Briton then locked up at Turn 1 and ran wide on his second attempt at a quick time, as Felipe Drugovich improved to move his MP Motorsport car up to second. 

None of the top five runners – Ilott, Drugovich, Dan Ticktum, Armstrong and Guanyu Zhou – improved on their second sets of medium-compound ‘option’ Pirellis, with a change of wind conditions suspected. 

Even so, Drugovich was on a hot lap when he encountered Nikita Mazepin, and had to go around the Russian at Turn 8. 

The Brazilian set a purple final sector, but had lost 0.6 seconds to Ilott in the middle sector in which he had overtaken Mazepin, and 0.4s to his own best in that sector. 

This meant that Ilott finished the session 0.391s clear of Drugovich. 

Williams-supported DAMS driver Ticktum went third on his second push lap on his first set of tyres, while Armstrong, like Ilott, never improved on his opening gambit and will start fourth. 

It was the same story for Ilott’s Virtuosi teammate, Renault F1 Junior Guanyu Zhou, who lines up fifth. 

The next batch of drivers all went quicker on their second sets of tyres, and it was Giuliano Alesi who headed them to make it two MP cars in the top six. 

Alesi then pulled off the track at the exit of Turn 4 with a mechanical failure, gesticulating furiously to marshals to use their fire extinguishers, and this brought out a session-terminating red flag with just over one minute remaining, meaning most of the field didn’t complete their final attempts at a hot lap. 

Mazepin, without a representative time on his first set of Pirellis due to a track-limits offence, bounced his way up to seventh in his Hitech Grand Prix car, while Red Bull Junior Jehan Daruvala qualified eighth for Carlin. 

ART’s Renault F1 prospect Christian Lundgaard took ninth, so will share the fifth row with Prema Racing man Schumacher, who never featured but improved from 12th to 10th on the second runs. 

FIA Formula 3 Championship runner-up Theo Pourchaire did a respectable job bearing in mind his lack of F2 mileage to qualify his HWA Racelab car 16th, over a second quicker than F2 veteran teammate Artem Markelov. 

Right at the back of the grid will be Carlin’s Red Bull and Honda junior Yuki Tsunoda. 

The Japanese was on a storming first push lap that looked set to put him second to Ilott based on his first two sector times, but got into a wicked slide through the flat-out Turn 12 that ran him out wide onto the kerb under braking for Turn 13, where he spun and stalled. 

Tsunoda tried to get the car going, but to no avail and the session was red-flagged while he was retrieved from the middle of the track. 

Qualifying results:

1

4

United Kingdom

Callum Ilott

United Kingdom

UNI-Virtuosi

1'41.479

2

15

Brazil

Felipe Drugovich

Netherlands

MP Motorsport

1'41.870

0.391

3

2

United Kingdom

Dan Ticktum

France

DAMS

1'42.047

0.568

4

5

New Zealand

Marcus Armstrong

France

ART Grand Prix

1'42.052

0.573

5

3

China

Guanyu Zhou

United Kingdom

UNI-Virtuosi

1'42.065

0.586

6

14

France

Giuliano Alesi

Netherlands

MP Motorsport

1'42.074

0.595

7

24

Russian Federation

Nikita Mazepin

United Kingdom

HitechGP

1'42.139

0.660

8

8

India

Jehan Daruvala

United Kingdom

Carlin

1'42.191

0.712

9

6

Denmark

Christian Lundgaard

France

ART Grand Prix

1'42.259

0.780

10

20

Germany

Mick Schumacher

Italy

Prema Powerteam

1'42.283

0.804

11

11

Switzerland

Louis Deletraz

Czech Republic

Charouz Racing System

1'42.316

0.837

12

22

Israel

Roy Nissany

Italy

Trident

1'42.338

0.859

13

12

Brazil

Pedro Piquet

Czech Republic

Charouz Racing System

1'42.481

1.002

14

21

Russian Federation

Robert Shwartzman

Italy

Prema Powerteam

1'42.654

1.175

15

9

United Kingdom

Jack Aitken

Spain

Campos Racing

1'42.848

1.369

16

17

France

Theo Pourchaire

Germany

HWA AG

1'42.967

1.488

17

23

Japan

Marino Sato

Italy

Trident

1'43.170

1.691

18

1

Indonesia

Sean Gelael

France

DAMS

1'43.191

1.712

19

10

Brazil

Guilherme Samaia

Spain

Campos Racing

1'43.286

1.807

20

25

Italy

Luca Ghiotto

United Kingdom

HitechGP

1'43.366

1.887

21

16

Russian Federation

Artem Markelov

Germany

HWA AG

1'44.019

2.540

7

Japan

Yuki Tsunoda

United Kingdom

Carlin

1'57.048

15.569

View full results