F2 Abu Dhabi: Points leader Piastri sets the pace in practice

Oscar Piastri kicked off his quest to secure the FIA Formula 2 title in the best possible way by topping the times in practice at the partially re-profiled Yas Marina Circuit.

F2 Abu Dhabi: Points leader Piastri sets the pace in practice
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The championship leader surged to the top of the times in the final third of the 45 minute session, courtesy of a 1m36.800, set on the medium tyres.

It proved to be a hotly-contested session with only 0.035s separating the top three as rookie Jack Doohan emerged as Piastri’s closest rival.

Doohan managed to extract an effort 0.021s slower than Piastri in his MP Motorsport entry, while ART Grand Prix’s Christian Lundgaard was third-fastest. 

Title contenders Robert Shwartzman and Guanyu Zhou clocked times good enough for ninth and 11th respectively.

F2 newcomer Clement Novalak was the first to set an indicative time around the revamped circuit, posting a 1m39.489s on the medium tyres.

The benchmark was soon eclipsed first by Jeddah podium finisher Ralph Boschung before Doohan, Marcus Armstrong and Juri Vips enjoyed spells at the top of the times.

Lundgaard lit up the timing screens with 30 minutes of the session remaining, surging to the top with a 1m37.770s. The Dane shaved a almost second from that effort becoming the first drivers into the 1m36s bracket.

Piastri emerged as his nearest rival before toppling Lundgaard as the session approached its final 15 minutes. The Australian set a new benchmark which was five thousandths of a second faster than Lundgaard.

Boschung sat third ahead of Vips, Doohan, Armstrong and Marino Sato.

Piastri managed to lap even fastest taking 0.030s off his time while countryman Doohan popped up into second spot as the clock ticked towards the final 10 minutes.

The times remained unchanged in the closing minutes of the session as Piastri emerged on top ahead of Doohan and Lundgaard.

Boschung ended the session in fourth fractionally ahead of Novalak while Vips posted the sixth-fastest time. The top 10 was completed by Armstrong, Bent Viscaal, Shwartzman and Marino Sato.

Practice ran largely without incident with Roy Nissany the closest to flirting with the circuit’s barriers. 

The field will return for qualifying scheduled for 1830 local time 1530 GMT.  

F2 Abu Dhabi - Practice results:

Cla # Driver Team Time Gap
1 2 Australia Oscar Piastri Italy Prema Powerteam 1'36.800  
2 11 Australia Jack Doohan Netherlands MP Motorsport 1'36.821 0.021
3 9 Denmark Christian Lundgaard France ART Grand Prix 1'36.835 0.035
4 21 Switzerland Ralph Boschung Spain Campos Racing 1'37.299 0.499
5 12 Switzerland Clement Novalak Netherlands MP Motorsport 1'37.315 0.515
6 8 Estonia Jüri Vips United Kingdom HitechGP 1'37.339 0.539
7 17 New Zealand Marcus Armstrong France DAMS 1'37.416 0.616
8 24 Netherlands Bent Viscaal Italy Trident 1'37.615 0.815
9 1 Russian Federation Robert Shwartzman Italy Prema Powerteam 1'37.633 0.833
10 25 Japan Marino Sato Italy Trident 1'37.701 0.901
11 3 China Guanyu Zhou United Kingdom UNI-Virtuosi 1'37.738 0.938
12 5 United Kingdom Dan Ticktum United Kingdom Carlin 1'37.817 1.017
13 10 France Theo Pourchaire France ART Grand Prix 1'37.910 1.110
14 7 New Zealand Liam Lawson United Kingdom HitechGP 1'37.915 1.115
15 4 Brazil Felipe Drugovich United Kingdom UNI-Virtuosi 1'37.997 1.197
16 15 Brazil Guilherme Samaia Czech Republic Charouz Racing System 1'38.101 1.301
17 16 Israel Roy Nissany France DAMS 1'38.202 1.402
18 6 India Jehan Daruvala United Kingdom Carlin 1'38.207 1.407
19 14 Netherlands Richard Verschoor Czech Republic Charouz Racing System 1'38.387 1.587
20 20 United Kingdom Olli Caldwell Spain Campos Racing 1'38.538 1.738
21 22 United Kingdom Jake Hughes HWA Racelab 1'39.155 2.355
22 23 Italy Alessio Deledda HWA Racelab 1'40.859 4.059
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