BAKU, AZERBAIJAN - APRIL 28: Frederik Vesti of Denmark and PREMA Racing (7) drives on track during practice ahead of Round 4:Baku of the Formula 2 Championship at Baku City Circuit on April 28, 2023 in Baku, Azerbaijan. (Photo by Joe Portlock - Formula 1/Formula Motorsport Limited via Getty Images)
F2 Qualifying results: Baku
Find out what happened in an electric qualifying session for Formula 2 at Baku
PREMA Racing’s Oliver Bearman took pole position in a tight Formula 2 qualifying in Baku.
How it happened
Drivers struggled to gain tyre temperature at the start of the session, meaning no one had gotten a fast lap set by the time the first red flag came out. The offender, seven minutes into the session, was PHM Racing by Charouz driver Brad Benavides, who hit the wall at Turn 1 and put himself out of the running.
After a lengthy red flag to repair the barrier, drivers were back out on track again at the Baku City Circuit. With almost ten minutes gone in the session, Ralph Boschung set the first flying lap. His benchmark time was 1:55.530, but within seconds he was pushed down to ninth on the timing sheets and Oliver Bearman had stolen provisional pole position.
As drivers continued to set their first flying laps, Hitech’s Isack Hadjar came into the pits with an issue, having had a slight tangle with the wall. He wasn’t the only one, with Ayumu Iwasa also making contact with the barriers throughout the first part of the session.
Bearman held provisional pole for a few minutes, but with half of the time gone MP Motorsport’s Dennis Hauger set a time of 1:53.531 and took it away. As the drivers headed into the pits to regroup, the top five were Hauger, Richard Verschoor, Bearman, Kush Maini, and Enzo Fittipaldi.
With 20 minutes gone in the 30 minute session, 21 drivers came back out on track for their final flying laps. The first to go was Isack Hadjar, back out after the team fixed a suspension issue on his car. Setting his first lap of this qualifying, he managed tenth place which would put him on reverse grid pole for the Sprint Race.
But Hadjar only held tenth place for seconds, before a flurry of other improvements knocked him down the order. Vesti set a purple sector 1 and quickly became the new provisional polesitter with a 1:53.271. Theo Pourchaire of ART Grand Prix quickly slotted in just behind him.
One of the drivers who didn’t improve was Bearman, who made slight contact with the wall and had to put all of his effort into one final flying lap. With no time left on the board, it was looking like Vesti would have this pole position in the bag.
But in the final moments, a span of five seconds saw four different drivers hold the top time of the session. Hauger was the first to take it from Vesti, then Fittipaldi took it from Hauger. But shockingly it was Bearman who managed to set a 1:52.652, the fastest lap of this qualifying.
That put Bearman on pole position for the first time in his Formula 2 career. Fittipaldi came in second, followed by Pourchaire in third. Vesti and Hauger completed the top five, followed by Jehan Daruvala, Jak Crawford, Victor Martins, and Zane Maloney. Verschoor came in tenth and will start on pole position for the Sprint Race tomorrow.