Zhou snatches Bahrain F2 feature race pole, but under investigation

A late effort from Guanyu Zhou topped an interrupted FIA Formula 2 qualifying in Bahrain to secure the feature race pole position, but the Chinese driver is under investigation.

Zhou snatches Bahrain F2 feature race pole, but under investigation

The UNI-Virtuosi driver saved his best until the final moments of qualifying to post a 1m42.848s to pip Alpine Academy rival Christian Lundgaard by three thousandths of a second.

Zhou’s effort to edge Lundgaard in a frantic end to the 30-minute session not only secured pole for race three, but also ensured he took four valuable championship points.

However, this all remains provisional as there was even more drama at the end of the session, as Zhou triggered an FIA investigation for taking the chequered flag twice in the session - having returned to the pits rather than taking the escape road to the support paddock.

As previously reported, the new weekend format means that the top 10 from this session will be reversed on the grid for Saturday’s race one, while positions 11-22 are locked in as normal.

The full results from qualifying will then form the grid for Sunday’s feature race.

As a result of this format change, David Beckmann, who finished 10th, is on reversed-grid pole position for race one.

The session started in a busy fashion with a flurry of banker laps, quickest of those in the first 10 minutes was the 1m43.315s effort from practice pacesetter Felipe Drugovich, which pipped Lundgaard (ART Grand Prix) and Jehan Daruvala (Carlin).

Drugovich remained on top as the session reached its halfway point and teams began to gear up for second runs.

 

Although late to appear from the garage, Zhou made the most of an off sequence maiden run on a clear track to jump to provisional pole by 0.022s, courtesy of an 1m43.293s lap with 13 minutes remaining.

It proved to be a disastrous end to the session for Shwartzman as he suddenly lost power and came trundling to a stop at the final corner, while occupying fifth. The stricken Prema-run car brought out the red flag with six minutes remaining.

A frantic final five minutes of the session unfolded following the stoppage and it was Lundgaard who struck first as he jumped to the top of the times by half a second with an impressive effort.

Although, not to be outdone, Zhou responded with a late effort to take the provisional pole.

Drugovich ended the session in third ahead of Carlin’s Dan Ticktum, while Hitech Grand Prix’s Juri Vips snared fifth.

Another driver to improve late on was MP Motorsport’s Richard Verschoor - a late addition to the grid - who took sixth in front of Daruvala.

Prema rookie Oscar Piastri, Liam Lawson (Hitech Grand Prix) and Beckmann rounded out the top 10, which will be reversed for race one.

Meanwhile, title favourite Shwartzman will start races one and three from 12th after his mechanical issue in qualifying.

Trident’s Bent Viscaal, who was 26th fastest, is also facing an FIA investigation for a possible pitlane infringement.

Saturday’s opening sprint race of the season is due to begin at 10.25 GMT.

 

shares
comments
Drugovich fastest in F2 Bahrain practice

Previous article

Drugovich fastest in F2 Bahrain practice

Next article

F2 format tweaks won't change drivers' weekend approach

F2 format tweaks won't change drivers' weekend approach
Load comments

About this article

Series FIA F2
Author Tom Howard
The F1 hopeful living two lives to keep his dream alive Plus

The F1 hopeful living two lives to keep his dream alive

Having lost his backing from Red Bull, Richard Verschoor has had to graft to continue his ascent up the single-seater ladder. An impressive Formula 2 debut in Bahrain, despite the lateness of his deal, shows his unorthodox approach is paying dividends

FIA F2
Apr 22, 2021
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