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PREMA Racing’s Frederik Vesti took pole position in a red flag heavy qualifying at Monaco.
For Monaco qualifying, the 22 drivers were split up into two groups, each group containing one driver from each of the 11 teams. Group A went first, and then Group B, each getting 16 minutes of track time. The driver who set the fastest time of both groups starts on pole, with the fastest driver from the other group starting second, and alternating between groups the rest of the way down the grid.
Half of the drivers took to the track for the first part of qualifying, hoping to set the fastest time of the day. ART Grand Prix’s rookie driver Victor Martins set the pace early on, but improvements came quick and fast for most of the drivers.
The Circuit de Monaco does not allow for errors, and home driver Arthur Leclerc was the first to make one. He hit the wall at the final corner with six minutes to go and brought out the red flag.
After Leclerc’s car had been cleared from the track, ten drivers went back out for their final chance at getting pole this weekend.
With two minutes to go, Jack Doohan topped the timing sheets, but not for long. It was Martins again who grabbed P1 with a 1:21.231, two-tenths faster than Doohan.
Whether or not anyone could top Martins’ time was left undiscovered, as MP Motorsport’s Jehan Daruvala was the second driver to hit the wall right at the end of the session.
That made Martins’ time the one to beat for Group B, with Doohan and Richard Verschoor in second and third. Daruvala was fourth, followed by Isack Hadjar of Hitech Grand Prix.
The second half of the grid then went out to set their lap times for the day. As with Group A, times started higher up in the 1:22s and 1:23s range, but slowly got faster. Van Amersfoort Racing’s Juan Manuel Correa was an early pacesetter but slipped down to fifth after a flurry of improvements.
True to form, ART Grand Prix was up on top again, with Theo Pourchaire setting a 1:21.630 about halfway into the session and holding first place. His time left four-tenths to be found relative to Martins.
PREMA Racing’s Frederik Vesti was the next driver to take the top spot, but it wasn’t long before Pourchaire stole it back again, improving his time to a 1:21.354.
As the minutes ticked down Vesti attempted to retaliate, setting a fastest first and second sectors ahead of the rest of the field, who were also improving.
Finally beating out Martins’ time from Group A, Vesti set a 1:21.053 ahead of Pourchaire and Zane Maloney, taking pole position away from the first group of drivers.
Pourchaire improved but could only manage second place as again the session was ended by a red flag. This time it was Trident Racing’s Clement Novalak who found the wall and prematurely ended Formula 2 qualifying in Monaco.
With Group B setting the fastest time of the day, those drivers took priority on the grid. So Vesti took pole position, ahead of Group A’s fastest driver, Martins.
The other ART driver Pourchaire will start third in the Feature Race, ahead of Doohan. Zane Maloney came third in group B and will line up fifth, ahead of Verschoor, Jak Crawford, Jehan Daruvala, and Ayumu Iwasa. Hadjar will start tenth in the Feature Race and claims reverse grid pole for tomorrow’s Sprint Race.
Full results can be found here.
Feature Image Credit: Joe Portlock – Getty Images