F2: Frederik Vesti beats rival Theo Pourchaire in tense battle to take crucial pole in Monaco
Frederik Vesti secured pole position in Monaco in a tense qualifying battle with title rival Théo Pourchaire. The PREMA Racing and Mercedes Junior Team driver laid down a 1:21.053 in the final five minutes to secure pole, narrowly beating Pourchaire by 0.052s. Victor Martins topped Group A and will start from P2 on the grid.
With qualifying split into two groups of 11 in Formula 2, Group A featured even-numbered cars following a random ballot to decide a running order. Group B, featuring the odd-numbered cars on the grid, ran second.
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Arthur Leclerc had been hoping for a strong result on home soil but came unstuck early on in Group A. He tagged the barriers out of the final corner, resulting in a crash and red flag early on in the first segment.
With running back underway, Alpine Academy and Invicta Virtuosi Racing man Jack Doohan took the top spot but was pipped by Martins on the Frenchman’s next effort. Nobody in Group A got another lap in after a second red flag in the final moments, this time following a crash for Jehan Daruvala.
In Group B, Pourchaire hit the front right away, taking the top spot on his first flying lap and shaving time off that effort on his subsequent attempt.
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Vesti hit back though having been P2 up until his crucial third flying lap. It was good enough to edge out championship leader Pourchaire by just 0.052s for provisional pole on a 1:21.053.
With less than a minute to go and all the drivers on their final laps, Trident’s Clément Novalak hit the barriers at Portier, bringing out the red flags and ending the session early before any further improvements.
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Following the aggregation of both groups, Vesti will start on pole ahead of Martins on the front row, with Pourchaire behind him in third. Hitech Pulse-Eight and Red Bull Junior Team driver Isack Hadjar will start Saturday’s Sprint Race from reverse grid pole after ending up 10th overall.
For an in-depth recap of the full Qualifying session, visit the official Formula 2 website and report here.