Ferrari Formula 1 junior driver Charles Leclerc beat Luca Ghiotto to the top spot in qualifying at Jerez, as he claimed his eighth pole of the 2017 Formula 2 season.
Leclerc produced two laps good enough to claim first place on the grid for tomorrow ’s feature race, and added four points to his pre-weekend lead of 59.
Sergio Sette Camara completed the top three, ahead of Leclerc’s closet championship challenger, Oliver Rowland.
Several drivers – including Rowland, ART Grand Prix pair Nobuharu Matsushita and Alexander Albon, and Artem Markelov – opted to remain in the pits when the lights went green on the 30-minute session.
Leclerc was one of the drivers to head out straight away and soon moved to the top of the times with a lap of 1m25.112s – already quicker than he had gone when he topped the day’s practice session ahead of Rowland this morning.
Ghiotto slotted into second place and the top two positions remained unchanged despite both drivers improving their best laps.
Leclerc, after coming in and using the stop as an opportunity to change his helmet, improved the best time to 1m24.930s and extended his advantage over Ghiotto.
But although the Russian Time driver hit back with a best effort of 1m24.942s, Leclerc went faster again, ending the day with a quickest time of 1m24.682s.
Ghiotto, who abandoned a final attack after not improving in sectors one and two, therefore wound up 0.260s adrift, with Sette Camara a further 0.315s behind for MP Motorsport.
Rowland, who had been third fastest after completing his delayed first effort, had looked set to get in amongst the fight for pole as the session headed into its final five minutes.
The Renault F1 development driver was up against what would become Leclerc’s second best time in sector one before fading slightly in sector two.
But a heavy left-front lock-up at the final Turn 15 hairpin cost him and he could not improve his time, ending up 0.634s behind Leclerc.
Markelov put in a late improvement to finish fifth in the second Russian Time machine, ahead of Albon and Matsushita.
McLaren F1 junior Nyck de Vries qualified eighth for Racing Engineering, as Nicholas Latifi and Norman Nato rounded out the top 10.
Alex Palou, who is making is F2 debut for Campos Racing after taking over from the recently retired Robert Visoiu, qualified 11th.
Jordan King was 14th, one spot in front of Leclerc’s Prema Racing teammate and fellow Ferrari junior Antonio Fuoco.
Rene Binder – returning to the series where he started 73 races when it was known as GP2 – qualified 17th for Rapax.
|1||Charles Leclerc||Prema Powerteam||1'24.682|
|2||Luca Ghiotto||RUSSIAN TIME||1'24.942||0.260|
|3||Sergio Sette Camara||MP Motorsport||1'25.257||0.575|
|5||Artem Markelov||RUSSIAN TIME||1'25.422||0.740|
|6||Alexander Albon||ART Grand Prix||1'25.426||0.744|
|7||Nobuharu Matsushita||ART Grand Prix||1'25.450||0.768|
|8||Nyck de Vries||Racing Engineering||1'25.470||0.788|
|10||Norman Nato||Arden International||1'25.583||0.901|
|11||Alex Palou||Campos Racing||1'25.600||0.918|
|14||Jordan King||MP Motorsport||1'25.653||0.971|
|15||Antonio Fuoco||Prema Powerteam||1'25.739||1.057|
|16||Gustav Malja||Racing Engineering||1'25.916||1.234|
|19||Sean Gelael||Arden International||1'26.163||1.481|
|20||Ralph Boschung||Campos Racing||1'26.647||1.965|