Barcelona F2: Leclerc bags pole with last-gasp lap

Ferrari Formula 1 junior driver Charles Leclerc topped a disrupted qualifying session to claim pole position for the Formula 2 feature race at Barcelona.

Barcelona F2: Leclerc bags pole with last-gasp lap

Prema Racing’s Leclerc – who also topped practice earlier on Friday – went quickest with a time of 1m29.285 with the last lap of the session.

Leclerc’s improvement prevented Russian Time’s Luca Ghiotto from taking what would have been a maiden pole in F1’s feeder series – rebranded from GP2 for 2017 – as the Italian driver had gone quickest just before the red flags.

Those were brought out when Trident’s Nabil Jeffri stopped his car on the run down from Turn 4 with a mechanical problem with just over five minutes remaining.

Nyck de Vries, who also spent time at the top of timesheets, finished in third place for Rapax, ahead of early pacesetter Jordan King.

Leclerc was only second-quickest after the first runs – which the Prema driver and his teammate Antonio Fuoco completed later than the rest of the field as they opted to wait for the mid-session lull in action – after struggling with oversteer for much of his lap.

But the 19-year-old improved significantly on his final lap to take his second F2 pole in succession.

Alexander Albon finished fifth for ART Grand Prix, ahead of DAMS racer – and Renault F1 development driver – Oliver Rowland.

Norman Nato was seventh-fastest for Arden, with Fuoco eighth and Nicholas Latifi ninth in the second DAMS.

Nobuharu Matsushita rounded out the top ten for ART, as Bahrain feature race winner Artem Markelov qualified down in 13th place.

Former Manor F1 driver Roberto Merhi finished 15th in his first qualifying appearance in F2, where he is competing for Campos at his home event this weekend.

Jeffri – who had been struggling with an alternator problem in practice – ended up in 20th place with the slowest time.

Alex Kalinauckas / Autosport

Qualifying results

Pos.#DriverTeamLapsTimeGap
1 1 monaco Charles Leclerc italy Prema Powerteam 7 1'29.285  
2 5 italy Luca Ghiotto russia RUSSIAN TIME 10 1'29.478 0.193
3 18 netherlands Nyck de Vries italy Rapax 10 1'29.550 0.265
4 15 united_kingdom Jordan King netherlands MP Motorsport 9 1'29.585 0.300
5 8 thailand Alexander Albon france ART Grand Prix 10 1'29.732 0.447
6 9 united_kingdom Oliver Rowland france DAMS 9 1'29.744 0.459
7 20 france Norman Nato united_kingdom Arden International 7 1'29.790 0.505
8 2 italy Antonio Fuoco italy Prema Powerteam 8 1'29.834 0.549
9 10 canada Nicholas Latifi france DAMS 9 1'29.885 0.600
10 7 japan Nobuharu Matsushita france ART Grand Prix 9 1'29.975 0.690
11 3 switzerland Louis Deletraz spain Racing Engineering 10 1'30.046 0.761
12 11 switzerland Ralph Boschung spain Campos Racing 10 1'30.065 0.780
13 6 russia Artem Markelov russia RUSSIAN TIME 8 1'30.177 0.892
14 14 brazil Sergio Sette Camara netherlands MP Motorsport 10 1'30.231 0.946
15 12 spain Roberto Merhi spain Campos Racing 8 1'30.389 1.104
16 19 venezuela Johnny Cecotto italy Rapax 9 1'30.441 1.156
17 21 indonesia Sean Gelael united_kingdom Arden International 9 1'30.772 1.487
18 4 sweden Gustav Malja spain Racing Engineering 9 1'30.814 1.529
19 17 spain Sergio Canamasas italy Trident 9 1'31.148 1.863
20 16 malaysia Nabil Jeffri italy Trident 6 1'32.303 3.018
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