RACE DEBRIEF

    Alpine junior Oscar Piastri was the familiar name on pole in Formula 2, qualifying first for the fifth successive round. The PREMA racer beat fellow Aussie Jack Doohan to first with a lap of 1m35.077s and now needs to finish within 10 points of Robert Shwartzman in Sprint Race 1 to secure the F2 title.

    Leading his team mate by 55.5 points in the championship, Piastri needs to finish the first race of the weekend with an advantage of 45 to secure the crown and follow in the footsteps of 2021 champion Mick Schumacher.

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    And things got off to a good start in that respect, as the Australian was the early pace-setter in the Friday evening session, heading Shwartzman and Red Bull junior Jehan Daruvala after the first set of flying laps.

    Little changed in the following 20 minutes, until 2021 Formula 3 vice-champion Doohan and 2022 Alfa Romeo Formula 1 driver Guanyu Zhou dislodged the PREMA drivers from first and second, putting pressure on Piastri to find the additional time.

    Not that there was ever much doubt he could: Piastri responded emphatically, setting a purple first sector to steal the position back at the first time of asking, beating Doohan by more than two-tenths.

    Shwartzman had to settle for fourth behind Doohan and Zhou, with Ralph Boschung rounding out the top five. Theo Pourchaire and Liam Lawson were in sixth and seventh, ahead of Felipe Drugovich.

    Finishing 10th and ninth, Carlin pairing Daruvala and Dan Ticktum will start from the front row of the Sprint Race 1 reverse grid when action gets underway at 1220 local time on Saturday.

    For more on F2, visit the official F2 website.