Mercedes Formula 1 reserve driver George Russell scored his first pole position in Formula 2 in qualifying at Paul Ricard.
Russell went quickest by 0.494s after everyone had set at least one flying lap and regrouped in the pits, but it was clear he’d need to improve again as the track rubbered in.
He did, by 0.3s, to head Alexander Albon by a solitary tenth on the front row of the grid after the 30-minute session, where temperatures mirrored the earlier practice.
Albon suffered a throttle sensor issue in practice which limited his running, but was faultless in qualifying, his only complaint being heavy traffic while attempting his last flying lap.
Instead, Prema's Nyck de Vries was affected by a throttle problem in qualifying, saying over the radio "that was my pole, that was such a good lap" as he wound up down in eighth place.
Practice pacesetter Lando Norris was only just clinging on to a top 10 spot after his first flying runs, but summoned a mighty effort to leap up to third at the end.
Norris' Carlin teammate Sergio Sette Camara took fourth to complete an impressive return from a qualifying crash in Monaco, where he needed an operation on his hand,
Luca Ghiotto’s impressive run in qualifying continued as he rounded out the top five, ahead of Renault-affiliated drivers Jack Aitken and Artem Markelov.
Aitken’s car looked lively, and he ended the session 0.6s off his teammate Russell, after being the first frontrunning driver to set a time in the second group of fast laps.
Behind de Vries in eighth, Louis Deletraz and Nicholas Latifi rounded out the top 10 for Charouz Racing System and DAMS respectively.
Santino Ferrucci was the first of the runners out for the second instalment of quick laps, after his first runs were severely affected by what appeared to be engine trouble.
When he came into the pits the issue looked to have been resolved, but he struggled to get going again after visiting the weighbridge. He returned for a final run and took 13th.
Ralph Boschung also suffered an issue and didn’t get out for a second run, ultimately making up the order.
|1||8||George Russell||ART Grand Prix||1'44.469|
|4||18||Sergio Sette Camara||Carlin||1'45.092||0.623|
|5||14||Luca Ghiotto||Campos Racing||1'45.109||0.640|
|6||7||Jack Aitken||ART Grand Prix||1'45.143||0.674|
|7||1||Artem Markelov||RUSSIAN TIME||1'45.250||0.781|
|8||4||Nyck de Vries||Prema Powerteam||1'45.269||0.800|
|9||20||Louis Deletraz||Charouz Racing System||1'45.278||0.809|
|11||11||Maximilian Gunther||Arden International||1'45.608||1.139|
|12||3||Sean Gelael||Prema Powerteam||1'45.721||1.252|
|14||9||Roberto Merhi||MP Motorsport||1'45.753||1.284|
|15||21||Antonio Fuoco||Charouz Racing System||1'45.919||1.450|
|16||2||Tadasuke Makino||RUSSIAN TIME||1'45.945||1.476|
|18||12||Nirei Fukuzumi||Arden International||1'46.060||1.591|
|19||15||Roy Nissany||Campos Racing||1'46.150||1.681|
|20||10||Ralph Boschung||MP Motorsport||1'46.500||2.031|