Logan Sargeant denied Ayumu Iwasa his first pole position in Formula 2 with a last-gasp run which deposed the DAMS driver by just six thousandths of a second.
Pole for Sunday’s feature race was decided in a thrilling end to a session which was briefly interrupted by a red flag when Dennis Hauger’s Prema car came to a stop.
Jack Doohan set the best time in the first 10 minutes of the session, putting in a 1’44.953, finding two tenths over second-fastest Jüri Vips in the third sector. On his subsequent lap, Doohan improved by seven tenths by the second sector. However Sargeant had crossed the line with a 1’44.599, and Doohan’s effort ended up two-and-a-half tenths shy.
That time was then deleted for a track limits infringement. Doohan wasn’t the only driver to fall foul of this: Cem Bolukbasi and Olli Caldwell also lost lap times.
The track temperature dropped by less than 1C over the opening half of the session, from 48C to 47.3C. Drivers pitted for fresh tyres and then played the waiting game for optimal track conditions on their last run.
Technical trouble thwarted two of them. Enzo Fittipaldi was unable to take a second run, getting out of his Charouz car ahead of the final 10 minutes of running. Dennis Hauger then pulled to the side of the track with seven and a half minutes left, prompting a red flag while his car was retrieved.
After the session restarted Sargeant’s time was beaten by 1’44.241 by championship leader Felipe Drugovich. Théo Pourchaire and Frederick Vesti then took it in turns to snatch the top spot.
As drivers began their final laps Ayumu Iwasa vaulted into first place with a 1’43.877. However, he did not beat the chequered flag to start a subsequent lap and could only look on as others improved their times.
To begin with Iwasa’s time held: Drugovich held third while Vesti crossed the line fast enough to stay in second. However, Sargeant was the last of the leaders across the line and beat Iwasa’s time by six thousandths of a second to take his second feature race pole position of the year.
An incident involving David Beckmann and Roberto Merhi was noted on the final lap of the session. The two substitutes appeared to be racing each other coming out of the final corner, and Beckmann was forced wide as they drove along the pit straight.
Jehan Daruvala set the 10th best time, meaning he will start the sprint race from pole position, with Liam Lawson joining him on the front row.
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