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F2: Maini heads Invicta Racing one-two in tense Bahrain Qualifying

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BAHRAIN, BAHRAIN - FEBRUARY 29: Kush Maini of India and Invicta Racing (9) drives on track during

Kush Maini made a brilliant start to the 2024 season by taking his maiden pole position in Formula 2 ahead of his Invicta Racing team mate Gabriel Bortoleto.

On his final attempt in a tight pole position shootout, the Alpine Academy Driver completed a lap of 1m 41.696s to take the top spot.

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Reigning Formula 3 champion Bortoleto followed his teammate across the line to go up to second, two-tenths off Maini’s time.

Isack Hadjar eclipsed Rodin’s Motorsport’s Zane Maloney late on in the event to go up to third for Campos Racing, with Dennis Hauger rounding out the top five for MP Motorsport.

Maini had proven to be the driver to beat on the initial runs, with his early lap of 1m 42.533 putting him at the top of the timesheets ahead of Hauger by just 0.045s.

However, Hadjar and Josep María Martí briefly made it a Campos one-two. The team elected to bring them out onto an empty track for their first laps of qualifying, with the former going fastest.

With five minutes remaining on the clock, the drivers then came out of the pitlane for one final lap with the fastest time changing hands on multiple occasions. However, it was Maini who eventually won out to take the first pole position of the season.

READ MORE: Ones to watch and title favourites – Our Formula 2 season preview for 2024

His McLaren-backed teammate Bortoleto made it an all-Invicta Racing front row for Saturday’s Feature Race, while Hadjar ended up third.

PHM AIX Racing’s Taylor Barnard left it late to move up to 10th giving the rookie pole position for Friday’s Sprint Race.

For a full in-depth report of the FIA Formula 2 Qualifying session, visit the F2 website here.

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