F2: Martins takes commanding maiden pole position in Jeddah
ART Grand Prix once again outshone their rivals in qualifying in Saudi Arabia, as Victor Martins grabbed his first Formula 2 pole position by an incredible 0.744s.
Ferrari junior Oliver Bearman made it an all-rookie Feature Race front row at the Jeddah Corniche Circuit, pipping Theo Pourchaire to P2 by a thousandth of a second.
Several drivers took turns on provisional pole during the first phase of running, but it was DAMS’ Arthur Leclerc who emerged in P1 with a time of 1m 42.629s, before a first red flag stoppage triggered by Richard Verschoor.
Bolting on a second set of super soft tyres, massive track evolution ensured that times continued to tumble. PREMA Racing’s Frederik Vesti and Bearman both put themselves up into P1, but nobody could touch Martins, who set a phenomenal 1m 41.326s.
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The Alpine junior’s best effort came just in the nick of time, as Leclerc parked up on the exit of Turn 22 and brought out the red flag with two minutes to go, wiping away Dennis Hauger’s best effort moments from the line.
The session was not resumed, allowing Martins to hold on to ART’s second consecutive pole. Jack Doohan was another late beneficiary, as he took fourth ahead of Jehan Daruvala, Ayumu Iwasa and Vesti, who carries with him a five-place grid penalty for the Sprint Race.
Rookie Kush Maini beat Sakhir Sprint Race winner and team mate Ralph Boschung for eighth. Red Bull junior Jak Crawford finished 10th and claimed the reverse grid pole for Saturday’s Sprint Race at 18:10 local time.
To read the full report, head to the official Formula 2 website.