Thai driver claims fastest time in stop-start session
DAMS’ Alexander Albon completed the 2018 FIA Formula 2 Championship Free Practice session at Barcelona, Spain as the fastest driver, setting a 1:29.327 to stand three tenths clear of second-placed Sergio Sette Camara (Carlin) as Luca Ghiotto of Campos Vexatec Racing ended the session in third.
A breezy session began with the Trident duo of Santino Ferrucci and Arjun Maini leapfrogging their opponents to leave the pits first, followed out by ART’s Jack Aitken as they all sought to take full advantage of the session’s 45 minute runtime. The American racer put the opening time on the board, which was given short shrift by Louis Delétraz; the Charouz Racing System driver held the early pace before Ferrucci spun on his next lap at Turn 4 to bring out a red flag after just five minutes of running.
Maini reopened the action when the track went green, which was immediately greeted by drivers trading best sector times as they looked to make up for the session’s suspension. The Indian driver briefly went top, before Carlin’s Lando Norris snatched the advantage. Despite setting the fastest opening sectors, a poor final portion of the lap stymied Albon’s efforts to overturn Norris’ control of the timing boards, allowing the Charouz pair of Delétraz and Antonio Fuoco to occupy second and third.
A second red flag was then brought out for Boschung, who produced an almost carbon copy of Ferrucci’s early spin at Turn 4 to pause the running once more. Sette Camara got the ball rolling again and beat Norris’ time on his subsequent flying lap, before Ghiotto went quickest by just a tenth over the Brazilian’s best.
Albon then found his way to the top, despite encountering heavy traffic in the final sector, before the Carlins reassumed the top placings. The Thai driver hit back, finding further gains in the opening two thirds of the lap to go three tenths ahead of Sette Camara. The final ten minutes were greeted with few improvements and, after a planned Virtual Safety Car in the last stages, Albon kept control of the timing boards.
Ghiotto slotted into third behind Sette Camara, while Nyck de Vries of PERTAMINA PREMA Theodore Racing headed Norris and Fuoco for fourth. Roberto Merhi (MP Motorsport) grabbed seventh in the final stages of the session, ahead of eighth-placed George Russell (ART) and Roy Nissany (Campos), as Aitken completed the top half of the field.
Qualifying will take place this afternoon and, with four different winners on the grid after just two rounds, should be a very closely-contested affair.
2018 FIA Formula 2 Championship Round 3 Free Practice – Barcelona, Spain
Driver
Team
Time
Laps
1
Alexander Albon
DAMS
1:29.327
14
2
Sergio Sette Camara
Carlin
1:29.621
15
3
Luca Ghiotto
Campos Vexatec Racing
1:29.764
16
4
Nyck de Vries
PERTAMINA PREMA Theodore Racing
1:29.878
14
5
Lando Norris
Carlin
1:29.991
17
6
Antonio Fuoco
Charouz Racing System
1:30.161
16
7
Roberto Merhi
MP Motorsport
1:30.182
16
8
George Russell
ART Grand Prix
1:30.292
17
9
Roy Nissany
Campos Vexatec Racing
1:30.337
17
10
Jack Aitken
ART Grand Prix
1:30.387
17
11
Louis Delétraz
Charouz Racing System
1:30.438
18
12
Nicholas Latifi
DAMS
1:30.650
16
13
Tadasuke Makino
RUSSIAN TIME
1:30.669
12
14
Artem Markelov
RUSSIAN TIME
1:30.675
16
15
Maximilian Günther
BWT Arden
1:30.826
16
16
Arjun Maini
Trident
1:30.914
18
17
Nirei Fukuzumi
BWT Arden
1:31.035
16
18
Sean Gelael
PERTAMINA PREMA Theodore Racing
1:31.179
14
19
Santino Ferrucci
Trident
1:50.513
2
20
Ralph Boschung
MP Motorsport
1:53.538
4