Bahrain F2: Mazepin leads Carlin duo in stop-start practice

Nikita Mazepin topped a stop-start free practice session for the penultimate round of the FIA Formula 2 Championship at the Bahrain International Circuit. 

The Hitech Grand Prix-run Russian was a relatively late improver once everyone finally got down to putting in some serious lapping, and eventually headed Carlin racer Jehan Daruvala by 0.122 seconds. 

The field were only just completing their installation laps when F2 veteran Artem Markelov spun his HWA Racelab car at the final corner, and could not get going again. 

The session was red-flagged and Markelov got out of his car and made his way back to the pits – there was a comedy moment when, with the driverless car clearly in neutral, it trickled backwards across the circuit and bumped into the inside barrier, while some of the field were still returning to the pitlane. 

There was another red flag shortly after the restart, when Marino Sato also spun at the final corner, and could not restart his Trident machine. 

There were only 20 minutes of the scheduled 45 remaining when the green light shone, and just three drivers had set representative lap times. 

Dan Ticktum spent a little while at the top of the times, before he was deposed by Daruvala, and then Mazepin in turn went quickest. 

Red Bull and Honda Junior Yuki Tsunoda completed a Carlin 2-3 behind Daruvala, and on the way he was forced off the track by Roy Nissany, who was getting going again after spinning. 

Williams F1 protege Ticktum was fourth fastest in his DAMS car, while Renault F1 Junior Christian Lundgaard took fifth with ART Grand Prix, and Luca Ghiotto made it two Hitech machines in the top six. 

Robert Shwartzman was the best of the Prema Racing-run Ferrari juniors in seventh, while his championship-leading teammate Mick Schumacher was 10th. 

In between the two Prema drivers were Virtuosi Racing’s Renault F1 prospect Guanyu Zhou and MP Motorsport’s Felipe Drugovich. 

Schumacher’s closest title rival, fellow Ferrari protege Callum Ilott, was 14th fastest, via a massive oversteer slide at Turn 12 as spots of rain fell. 

FIA F3 Championship runner-up Theo Pourchaire won’t have been thanking HWA teammate Markelov or Sato for causing those red flags – he goes into his debut F2 qualifying session with just 14 laps (including numerous in and out-laps) under his belt, and was 17th of the 19 to set a representative time. 

Apart from Markelov and Sato, DAMS returnee Sean Gelael – back in action after breaking a vertebra at Barcelona in August – failed to get a decent lap on the board, his car needing attention in the pits following the second red flag. 

Bahrain F2 – Practice results:

Cla Driver   Team Time Gap
1 Nikita Mazepin   HitechGP 1’42.660  
2 Jehan Daruvala   Carlin 1’42.782 0.122
3 Yuki Tsunoda   Carlin 1’42.918 0.258
4 Dan Ticktum   DAMS 1’42.965 0.305
5 Christian Lundgaard   ART Grand Prix 1’43.064 0.404
6 Luca Ghiotto   HitechGP 1’43.079 0.419
7 Robert Shwartzman   Prema Powerteam 1’43.100 0.440
8 Guanyu Zhou   UNI-Virtuosi 1’43.128 0.468
9 Felipe Drugovich   MP Motorsport 1’43.142 0.482
10 Mick Schumacher   Prema Powerteam 1’43.172 0.512
11 Marcus Armstrong   ART Grand Prix 1’43.201 0.541
12 Pedro Piquet   Charouz Racing System 1’43.270 0.610
13 Louis Deletraz   Charouz Racing System 1’43.490 0.830
14 Callum Ilott   UNI-Virtuosi 1’43.491 0.831
15 Giuliano Alesi   MP Motorsport 1’43.835 1.175
16 Jack Aitken   Campos Racing 1’44.009 1.349
17 Theo Pourchaire   HWA AG 1’44.420 1.760
18 Roy Nissany   Trident 1’44.915 2.255
19 Guilherme Samaia   Campos Racing 1’45.246 2.586
20 Sean Gelael   DAMS 2’00.250 17.590
21 Marino Sato   Trident    
22 Artem Markelov   HWA AG    
View full results

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