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Doohan F2 Qualifying

F2 Qualifying Results: Abu Dhabi Grand Prix

After 13 rounds of racing, it all comes down to this weekend for Théo Pourchaire and Frederik Vesti to see who will be crowned the 2023 F2 Champion

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The final qualifying session of the 2023 F2 season is complete with Jack Doohan clinching pole position ahead of the two races this weekend. 

F2 Qualifying Pourchaire and Vesti
Theo Pourchaire drives on track during practice ahead of Round 14 Yas Marina of the Formula 2 Championship, where he can take the championship win. (Photo by Joe Portlock – Formula 1/Formula Motorsport Limited via Getty Images)

2023 has been a competitive year for Formula 2. Over the course of 13 rounds and 26 races, there have been 13 different race winners. Heading into the season finale, Théo Pourchaire has a 25-point lead over Frederik Vesti. The Frenchman has only won one race this year – the Bahrain Feature Race – however, he has produced consistent results. As for Vesti, despite some dominant weekends, he has failed to score points in the last three Feature Races.

The Red Bull Junior driver, Ayumu Iwasa, is also in contention for the title mathematically. But he would only be able to be crowned champion if Pourchaire fails to score any points at all.

Ahead of Qualifying, both Pourchaire and Vesti took part in Free Practice One. Vesti replaced Lewis Hamilton for the session and Pourchaire replaced Zhou Guanyu. Eight other rookies took part in FP1, including Jack Doohan, Isack Hadjar, and Zak O’Sullivan, who is moving up to F2 for 2024.

Also, important to note is that Paul Aron and Franco Colapinto are debuting in F2 this weekend, taking the places of Clement Novalak at Trident and Jehan Daruvala at MP Motorsport respectively.

But after completing the F2 practice session, and the FP1 session for some, it was time for the final F2 Qualifying session of 2023.

What happened in Qualifying?

The green light at the end of the pitlane prompted all cars to go out on track for the 30-minute qualifying session. Each driver has two sets of the soft-compound tyres for the weekend. With the cars on track, a clip of Pourchaire showed the Frenchman admitting he wasn’t relaxed at all, but he is focused on the “job [he] has to do.”

Once the drivers had completed some out-laps, it was time to start setting flying laps. Aron, who was completing his first F2 Qualifying session, set a time of 2.00.943.

Vesti in the PREMA car completed a lap time of 1.37.587with three green sectors. This put him in third in the standings whilst Pourchaire’s first flying lap was only good enough for P7.

Victor Martins, Pourchaire’s teammate, went fastest in the free practice of F2 this morning. His pace continued as the ART Grand Prix driver was able to set a time of 1.36.692, going fastest overall. Behind Martins sat Doohan, only 0.228 seconds behind.

After the first set of flying laps, Iwasa was in fifth. Oliver Bearman, who has had some stellar performances throughout the season, had yet to set a representative time, putting him P20 ahead of Juan Manual Correa and Zane Maloney.

So the top 10 after the first 10 minutes of the session was as follows:

Next set of flying laps

With the first set of times on the board, it was time to go again. Vesti was able to improve going fourth, but Martins followed suit, improving on his time, keeping his place on provisional pole.

Correa’s time saw him go 13th, just behind Pourchaire’s original times in P12. But they were soon bumped down as Doohan put his Invicta Virtuosi car back on the front, ahead of Maini and Verschoor.

After two runs, Pourchaire was still outside the top 10, in P13, which would be his starting position for both races this weekend. Meanwhile, Vesti was inside the top 10 and so was Iwasa.

With 16 minutes on the clock, some drivers, including Vesti, Bearman and Verschoor, went again, completing more flying laps. Vesti began a third fast lap, but abandoned it, despite getting two green sectors.

Bearman, who had a lap time deleted after going wide, was in 17th and he too abandoned his flying lap, halfway through the session. There’s only one point between Bearman and Martins in the championship, but with Bearman struggling in Qualifying, it looked like Martins had the advantage.

After setting some more lap times, all drivers came into the pits.

Final 10 minutes

The final 10 minutes saw the drivers leave the pits and head back out on track. Out laps were being completed and the commentators spoke about Pourchaire’s performance, highlighting how the Frenchman needs to improve his lap times because starting 14th when the championship is ready to sealed, is not how you want the weekend to go.

Iwasa was the first driver to begin setting another fast lap, having found a gap in the traffic with clean air. His lap saw him complete a purple sector one and an overall time 1.36.085. The Red Bull Junior driver went P1, taking provisional pole.

Pourchaire was unable to match Iwasa, only completing green sectors. He managed to put his car P7 whilst his teammate went P2, bumping Pourchaire down to P8.

Vesti’s next flying lap was only quick enough to go one position higher than Pourchaire. Doohan, however, then went quicker than Iwasa taking provisional pole from the DAMS driver.

The F2 drivers then began starting their final flying laps. Iwasa continued his pace, setting another purple sector one, trying to stay in the championship battle. Maloney followed suit, completing a purple sector two.

Championship leader Pourchaire, unfortunately, set a yellow sector one, improving only up to eighth. Martins joins the front row behind Doohan, who was improving and maintained pole position.

As drivers were going faster, Pourchaire was bumped down to P14. Vesti was in P9 whilst Iwasa was P5.

Results

The Qualifying results of the top 10 for Formula 2’s season finale were as followed:

1 – Doohan

2 – Martins

3 – Maini

4 – Maloney

5 – Iwasa

6 – Hauger

7 – Verschoor

8 – Hadjar

9 – Vesti

10 – Fittipaldi

Headline image: X @Formula2

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