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Red Bull junior Tsunoda goes quickest in debut Austria F2 practice

Red Bull and Honda junior Yuki Tsunoda sprung a surprise to go quickest in the Formula 2 free practice session at the Red Bull Ring on his competition debut in the category

The promising Japanese driver, a race winner in the FIA Formula 3 Championship last season, joined the session late as the Carlin team rushed to rectify an engine problem.

Tsunoda had just jumped to the top of the times, just before half an hour of the 45 minutes had elapsed, when the session was red-flagged because Marino Sato had spun into the gravel trap at the Turn 6 left-hander.

At that point Tsunoda was 0.054 seconds faster than F2 veteran Luca Ghiotto, who was giving the Hitech GP squad its debut in F2.

After the restart, with 13 minutes remaining on the clock, none of the top six times changed as everyone remained on the hard-compound Pirellis throughout the whole of the session.

Tsunoda therefore headed the order from Ghiotto, with another F2 debutant, 2019 FIA F3 runner-up and Ferrari protege Marcus Armstrong, rounding out the top three for ART Grand Prix.

A brace of Renault F1 juniors was next, with Guanyu Zhou fourth as he continues for another season with Virtuosi, and F2 rookie Christian Lundgaard fifth for ART, while yet another F2 newcomer - Felipe Drugovich - was a strong sixth with MP Motorsport.

Reigning FIA F3 champion Robert Shwartzman was the highest-placed driver to set his time after the red flag, the Russian Ferrari-backed prospect lapping seventh quickest with Prema Racing.

Another Carlin Red Bull Junior, Jehan Daruvala, was at the top of the times early on, and he went eighth fastest as he makes his F2 debut.

Rounding out the top 10 were a couple of F2 old hands, with Sean Gelael ninth quickest in his DAMS machine and Louis Deletraz 10th with Charouz Racing System.

Two-time Macau Grand Prix winner Dan Ticktum was 11th for DAMS.

Prema's Mick Schumacher looked good early on in the session, and had just jumped to the top of the times when a technical problem forced him into the pits, where he stayed for the remainder - he fell to 19th in the times.

Hitech may have enjoyed Ghiotto's path to second, but its session began disastrously when Nikita Mazepin's sister car was wheeled back into the paddock, from where it never emerged.

F2 free practice results

Pos Driver Team Gap
1 Yuki Tsunoda Carlin 1m15.249s
2 Luca Ghiotto Hitech Grand Prix 0.054s
3 Marcus Armstrong ART Grand Prix 0.156s
4 Guanyu Zhou UNI-Virtuosi 0.219s
5 Christian Lundgaard ART Grand Prix 0.260s
6 Felipe Drugovich MP Motorsport 0.349s
7 Robert Shwartzman Prema Racing 0.453s
8 Jehan Daruvala Carlin 0.469s
9 Sean Gelael DAMS 0.679s
10 Louis Deletraz Charouz Racing System 0.691s
11 Dan Ticktum DAMS 0.766s
12 Artem Markelov BWT HWA RACELAB 0.779s
13 Giuliano Alesi BWT HWA RACELAB 0.925s
14 Callum Ilott UNI-Virtuosi 1.019s
15 Nobuharu Matsushita MP Motorsport 1.085s
16 Pedro Piquet Charouz Racing System 1.130s
17 Roy Nissany Trident 1.265s
18 Jack Aitken Campos Racing 1.295s
19 Mick Schumacher Prema Racing 1.348s
20 Guilherme Samaia Campos Racing 1.645s
21 Marino Sato Trident 1.656s

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