F2 Bahrain: Haas F1 junior Maini beats McLaren's Norris in practice

Haas Formula 1 junior Arjun Maini set the fastest time in practice for the first Formula 2 event of the 2018 season, which is taking place in Bahrain this weekend

F2 Bahrain: Haas F1 junior Maini beats McLaren's Norris in practice

In the first competitive running of the new turbocharged F2 2018 car, Trident driver Maini set a best lap of 1m44.549s, which put him 0.051s clear of McLaren junior Lando Norris.

Despite the 45-minute session taking place similar conditions, Maini's lap was some way off the pre-season test times recorded at the same track last month.

Carlin driver Norris was one of the last of the drivers to set an early benchmark after being caught in traffic early on, and he also had to abandon his first proper flying lap.

But he made his eventual flying lap count and led the early part of the session before Maini took over.

Sergio Sette Camara gave Carlin two spots in the top three - as the team returns to F1's feeder championship after a year out.

Camara, a reverse-grid race winner in F2 at Spa last season, finished with a time 0.104s slower than Maini.

Alexander Albon, driving in a one-off deal with DAMS in Bahrain, and reigning GP3 champion George Russell (ART Grand Prix) rounded out the top five, ahead of for last year's championship runner-up Artem Markelov.

The Russian Time driver spent a large part of the session in the pits with his engineers frantically investigating his car.

He did eventually get out to set a flying lap in, and wound up 0.312s adrift in sixth place.

Single-seater veteran and ex-F1 driver Roberto Merhi steered his MP Motorsport car to seventh, ahead of the fastest man in the pre-season test at Sakhir, Arden's Maximilian Gunther.

Antonio Fuoco, driving for series newcomer Charouz Racing System, and Prema Racing's Sean Gelael rounded out the top 10.

Renault F1 reserve Jack Aitken was 11th in the second ART-run car.

Gelael's team-mate Nyck De Vries, who enters the season as one of the title favourites as he races with the team that steered Charles Leclerc to last year's F2 title, struggled during practice and was well down the order in 13th, almost a second off Maini's benchmark.

Practice results

Pos Driver Team Gap Laps
1 Arjun Maini Trident 1m44.549s 12
2 Lando Norris Carlin 0.051s 14
3 Sergio Sette Camara Carlin 0.104s 11
4 Alexander Albon DAMS 0.220s 15
5 George Russell ART Grand Prix 0.263s 13
6 Artem Markelov RUSSIAN TIME 0.312s 10
7 Roberto Merhi MP Motorsport 0.456s 13
8 Maximilian Guenther BWT Arden 0.461s 16
9 Antonio Fuoco Charouz Racing System 0.531s 15
10 Sean Gelael Pertamina Prema Theodore Racing 0.665s 13
11 Jack Aitken ART Grand Prix 0.719s 14
12 Nicholas Latifi DAMS 0.742s 16
13 Nyck de Vries Pertamina Prema Theodore Racing 0.780s 12
14 Tadasuke Makino RUSSIAN TIME 0.782s 14
15 Luca Ghiotto Campos Vexatec Racing 0.795s 14
16 Santino Ferrucci Trident 0.870s 14
17 Ralph Boschung MP Motorsport 1.015s 13
18 Nirei Fukuzumi BWT Arden 1.300s 16
19 Louis Deletraz Charouz Racing System 1.409s 14
20 Roy Nissany Campos Vexatec Racing 1.858s 15

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F2 Bahrain: McLaren F1 junior Norris pips Mercedes' Russell to pole

F2 Bahrain: McLaren F1 junior Norris pips Mercedes' Russell to pole
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