F2: Van Amersfoort Racing’s Richard Verschoor tops the timesheets in F2’s pre-season testing in Bahrain
Richard Verschoor got his third Formula 2 campaign off to the perfect start, clocking in the fastest overall time during the three days of pre-season testing. The Van Amersfoort Racing driver posted a 1:42.140 on the second of three days of running around the Bahrain International Circuit.
Sessions were roughly split between race simulations in the warmer morning conditions and Qualifying runs under the floodlights in the afternoon, similar to what the drivers will experience at the first round of the 2023 season in Sakhir.
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Alfa Romeo reserve driver Theo Pourchaire dominated the opening day’s running by claiming the P1 spot in both sessions. Emerging out in front in the final 30 minutes, the Frenchman put himself ahead of MP Motorsport’s Jehan Daruvala and Campos Racing’s Ralph Boschung.
Taking advantage of the cooler twilight temperatures later on in the afternoon’s track time, Pourchaire set an unbeatable 1:42.165, over 0.128s quicker Verschoor and Ferrari junior Arthur Leclerc.
The returning drivers continued to show their experience behind the wheel of their F2 cars on Day 2, with Mercedes junior Frederik Vesti leading the way in the morning. Contrastingly to the previous day’s action, the PREMA Racing driver set the 1:44.234 benchmark early on in proceedings. As the only driver to break the 1:44s barrier, Vesti closed the session a comfortable 1.947s clear of Boschung and rookie Leclerc.
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Verschoor rose to the top of the timing sheets in the second afternoon’s running, clocking in the fastest overall time from pre-season testing. A 1m 42.140s narrowly nudged the Dutch driver into P1, with only 0.008s separating him and Alpine Academy driver Victor Martins in the #6 ART car. Meanwhile, MP Motorsport’s Dennis Hauger finished two tenths down on the pair in third.
Focusing on long-run pace throughout the third and final day, Campos Racing managed to do the double and have both of their drivers claim the fastest time honours. Boschung opted to go out bright and early, posting a 1:45.027 and retaining a two second gap to second-placed Clement Novalak in the Trident and 2022 Formula 3 Champion Martins.
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Kush Maini meanwhile achieved his personal best time towards the concluding minutes of the final testing session. The Indian driver edged out PHM Racing by Charouz’s Roy Nissany with a 1:42.623. Pourchaire secured his fifth top 10 slot, achieving the third fastest time ahead of Red Bull juniors Enzo Fittipaldi and Dennis Hauger.
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Hitech Pulse-Eight’s Jak Crawford was kept busy out on track, wracking up 91 laps across the final day – the most of any driver in a single day throughout all of testing.
The 2023 Formula 2 season gets underway with Round 1 in Sakhir, Bahrain from March 3-5. You can catch the reports from each day of testing over on the FIA Formula 2 website.