F2 France: Norris leads Russell and Gunther in Paul Ricard practice

McLaren Formula 1 junior Lando Norris set the fastest time in Formula 2 practice at Paul Ricard ahead of George Russell and Maxi Gunther

F2 France: Norris leads Russell and Gunther in Paul Ricard practice

Carlin driver Norris - who currently tops the F2 drivers' standings and has been linked with approaches from three F1 teams - led for the majority of the 45-minute session.

He recorded a 1m45.562s early on, which was good enough to lead the times throughout despite the lap including a moment at the long Turn 11 right-hander.

Norris, making the most of a new engine he has available for this round, was followed by Mercedes junior Russell, who is hoping to rebound after crashing twice in Monaco last time out.

The drivers topping the session all set their times relatively early on, and few in the field improved as the action went on with the circuit temperature exceeding 45 degrees centigrade.

The last of the top five pace-setters to record his fastest lap was Gunther, who stole third with 22 minutes remaining in the 45-minute session.

Gunther was also quick at the previous round in Monaco, but had his qualifying lap there nullified and he was sent to the back of the grid for missing the weighing scales.

Prema Racing's Nyck de Vries - also a McLaren junior - took fourth, while Louis Deletraz (Charouz Racing System) rounded out the top five in practice for a race the Swiss driver has described as "almost a home round".

Alexander Albon finished the session in sixth place, returning to the action late on to set his best time after a throttle sensor problem cost him track time.

At the 13-minute mark, his car appeared to go into safe mode and he had to crawl around the track to return to the pits, and didn't re-join until nine minutes remained in the session.

Artem Markelov - one spot ahead of Albon in second in the title standings - had his session ended with 22 minutes remaining due to a spin at Turn 6 left hander at the top end of the track.

The Russian Time driver had been ninth overall at that point, and only dropped one spot to round out the top 10.

Instead, the closest driver to Albon was Luca Ghiotto, heading Russell's ART Grand Prix team-mate Jack Aitken and Campos Racing's Roy Nissany, who is the only F2 driver yet to score a point so far this season.

Practice results

Pos Driver Team Gap Laps
1 Lando Norris Carlin 1m45.562s 20
2 George Russell ART Grand Prix 0.083s 19
3 Maximilian Guenther BWT Arden 0.138s 21
4 Nyck de Vries Pertamina Prema Theodore Racing 0.226s 17
5 Louis Deletraz Charouz Racing System 0.543s 18
6 Alexander Albon DAMS 0.559s 13
7 Luca Ghiotto Campos Vexatec Racing 0.784s 18
8 Jack Aitken ART Grand Prix 0.808s 19
9 Roy Nissany Campos Vexatec Racing 0.861s 20
10 Artem Markelov RUSSIAN TIME 0.921s 10
11 Antonio Fuoco Charouz Racing System 0.930s 17
12 Sergio Sette Camara Carlin 0.990s 19
13 Roberto Merhi MP Motorsport 1.097s 18
14 Santino Ferrucci Trident 1.105s 16
15 Sean Gelael Pertamina Prema Theodore Racing 1.306s 17
16 Nicholas Latifi DAMS 1.347s 18
17 Ralph Boschung MP Motorsport 1.464s 16
18 Arjun Maini Trident 1.580s 19
19 Tadasuke Makino RUSSIAN TIME 1.856s 16
20 Nirei Fukuzumi BWT Arden 2.062s 18


shares
comments
Sette Camara cleared for F2 Paul Ricard after Monaco hand injury

Previous article

Sette Camara cleared for F2 Paul Ricard after Monaco hand injury

Next article

F2 France: Mercedes' Russell claims maiden F2 pole ahead of Albon

F2 France: Mercedes' Russell claims maiden F2 pole ahead of Albon
Load comments

About this article

Series FIA F2
Drivers Lando Norris , George Russell , Maximilian Gunther
Author Jack Benyon
Was Formula 2’s radical format switch a success? Plus

Was Formula 2’s radical format switch a success?

Going into the 2021 Formula 2 season the biggest talking point wasn’t about any drivers or teams, but the new race weekend format. Created partly out of financial necessity but also to spice up the action, the Bahrain opener provided a snapshot of the positives and negatives to come

FIA F2
Apr 4, 2021
Why 2021 is make-or-break for the driver F1 needs Plus

Why 2021 is make-or-break for the driver F1 needs

He was tipped for glory in FIA Formula 2 last year, but was hampered by reliability woes at inopportune moments. Guanyu Zhou knows he won't get too many more chances if he is to become China's first F1 driver, with fierce competition within the ranks of Alpine's junior stable

FIA F2
Mar 25, 2021
How Schumacher Jr earned his Haas F1 chance Plus

How Schumacher Jr earned his Haas F1 chance

Michael Schumacher may have won seven Formula 1 titles, but he didn't even compete for a crown at the second tier. Son Mick put that right in 2020, and proved to Ferrari that he was deserving of a shot at motorsport's elite category in 2021

FIA F2
Jan 9, 2021
The quintet giving Ferrari a tough decision to make Plus

The quintet giving Ferrari a tough decision to make

The Ferrari Driver Academy earned a podium sweep in the first Formula 2 race of the new decade in Austria last weekend. The battle between 'the FDA five' is set to be one of the major subplots of the season, but who has the best F1 prospects for 2021?

FIA F2
Jul 8, 2020
The Williams junior determined to prove Red Bull wrong Plus

The Williams junior determined to prove Red Bull wrong

Dropped by his team in Japan and by Red Bull, Dan Ticktum's single-seater career seemed to be over last summer. But now he's on the Formula 2 grid with the reigning champion team, and he's a new protege of Williams. How did that happen?

FIA F2
Mar 20, 2020
The controversial weekend that ended an American's dream in Europe Plus

The controversial weekend that ended an American's dream in Europe

OPINION: In the latest in our series of features looking back the recently concluded 2010s, we recall one of the many sagas of the 2018 Formula 2 season, which featured unusual fines and an unsavoury clash between team-mates

FIA F2
Jan 3, 2020
The year Leclerc fully revealed his star status Plus

The year Leclerc fully revealed his star status

In the latest feature in our series looking back on the 2010s, we revisit Charles Leclerc's sensational Formula 2 season - where he strode among on-track highs and lows, as well as tragedy away from motorsport, to earn a place on the Formula 1 grid

FIA F2
Dec 26, 2019
Why F1 is no longer ignoring its feeder series Plus

Why F1 is no longer ignoring its feeder series

After the MotoGP-style Formula 1 support ladder was fully united for 2019, Bruno Michel and Ross Brawn share their views on the current state of Formula 2 and FIA Formula 3 and explain why investment at junior levels should boost the top tier

FIA F2
Dec 13, 2019