F2: Bearman seizes maiden pole in last gasp Baku thriller
Oliver Bearman went from zero to hero to snatch his first Formula 2 pole. Bending his steering moments before his final attempt, the Ferrari junior shook off the problem to take the top spot by a thousandth of a second in Azerbaijan.
A delayed start to the session was followed by an early red flag during the opening seven minutes, after Brad Benavides found the barriers at Turn 1. When the session resumed, Bearman continued his strong form after topping practice earlier in the day.
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Red Bull junior and MP Motorsport driver Dennis Hauger then became the one to beat, clocking in a 1m 53.531s at the halfway mark. However, track evolution and the power of the tow meant it would all go down to the wire.
Contrasting fortunes at PREMA Racing saw Frederik Vesti’s penultimate attempt put the Mercedes junior up into provisional pole, whilst his team mate Bearman brushed the barriers at Turn 2, forcing him to skate around the Baku City Circuit with bent steering.
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As the chequered flag came out, the improvements didn’t stop. In a blink of an eye, Hauger, Vesti and finally Enzo Fittipaldi all shot up into P1 across the line. Right in the train cars behind, Bearman caught the perfect slipstream, helping him to wrestle pole away from the Rodin Carlin driver with a 1m 52.652s.
Theo Pourchaire was another late beneficiary in third ahead of Vesti and the MP duo of Hauger and Jehan Daruvala. Jak Crawford was the second-best rookie in seventh, beating fellow newcomers Victor Martins and Zane Maloney.
After securing 10th, Richard Verschoor lines up on reverse grid pole for Saturday’s Sprint Race, which gets underway at 1500 local time.
Read more on the official FIA Formula 2 website.