Teenage sensation Matheo Tuscher took pole position for the first race of the 2012 FIA Formula 2 opener at Silverstone on Saturday morning on his series debut.
In bitterly cold and windy conditions, the 15-year-old Swiss - the youngest driver ever in F2 - lapped the Silverstone Grand Prix circuit in 1m46.851s. However, just before the end of the session the stewards revealed that they were investigating his driving tactics, as he had already been warned for exceeding track limits. A number of yellow flags had also proliferated the session.
"I'm very happy," said Tuscher of his pole position. "I wasn't really prepared for this. Everything was good, I had a great feeling in the car. I'm a bit nervous ahead of the race, we'll have to see how that goes."
Luciano Bacheta was second fastest, 0.207 seconds slower than Tuscher but ahead of pre-season favourite Christopher Zanella, who was just 0.055s off the front row pace.
"The number of yellow flags in that session were disappointing," said Bacheta. "I had to back-out of a number of laps. I wasn't sure where we were pace-wise, so it's nice to start the season on the front row; I was glad to get a clean lap in."
Zanella added: "I'm quite happy with third, as I only got four laps in practice yesterday."
Also closely-matched were free practice pacesetter Mihai Marinescu, who will start fourth, with Alex Fontana and Dino Zamparelli next up.
Formula Renault 3.5 Series convert Daniel McKenzie was seventh fastest, but one expected frontrunner who will start from the back is Markus Pommer, who went off at Brooklands after failing to set a representative laptime.
Pos Driver Time Gap 1. Matheo Tuscher 1m46.851s 2. Luciano Bacheta 1m47.058s + 0.207s 3. Christopher Zanella 1m47.113s + 0.262s 4. Mihai Marinescu 1m47.183s + 0.332s 5. Alex Fontana 1m47.257s + 0.406s 6. Dino Zamparelli 1m47.263s + 0.412s 7. Daniel McKenzie 1m47.487s + 0.636s 8. Hector Hurst 1m47.755s + 0.904s 9. Kevin Mirocha 1m47.831s + 0.980s 10. David Zhu 1m47.839s + 0.988s 11. Plamen Kralev 1m47.933s + 1.082s 12. Mauro Calamia 1m48.413s + 1.562s 13. Kourosh Khani 1m48.708s + 1.857s 14. Parthiva Sureshwaren 1m48.791s + 1.940s 15. Samuele Buttarelli 1m48.873s + 2.022s 16. Jose Luis Abadin 1m48.947s + 2.096s 17. Markus Pommer 1m51.181s + 4.330s
Autosport has produced a standalone special magazine to celebrate our 70th birthday. All current print subscribers will receive a copy for free. To order your copy of the 196-page Autosport 70th Anniversary issue, please go to: autosport.com/autosport70th