New Zealander Marcus Armstrong demonstrated pace in the first day of Formula 2 pre-season testing whilst Charouz driver Pedro Piquet took the honors at the end of the afternoon session.
The first day of pre-season testing in Bahrain saw the debut not only of several drivers, but the new Pirelli 18-inch tyres. It didn’t take Piquet long to get used to them, with the Brazilian topping the time sheets in the afternoon session with a 1:41.877.
The morning pace was set by team-mate Louis Deletraz, who is looking to build on the success of the previous two seasons in Formula 2. Throughout the session, it appeared as if Charouz was the in-form team.
The morning session was quiet early-on as most teams opted to remain in the garage, whilst the likes of Nobuharu Matsushita completed short runs on a relatively empty track to set the pace early on with MP Motorsport’s Felipe Drugovich following suit.
The most recent recruit into the Red Bull Junior Team – Jehan Daruvala – demonstrated good pace in the Carlin, setting the third fastest time in the session, behind Deletraz and Matsushita. This was Daruvala’s first racing stint since his return from a leg injury sustained toward the end of last year. Armstrong finished the session in tenth.
The afternoon session was briefly stopped when the red flag was brought out after Nikita Mazepin spun after battling for track position with Dan Ticktum. When the session resumed, Armstrong set the fastest time before being usurped by Deletraz.
The focus for most of the grid then switched to long runs, with the top three being Delatraz, Sergey Sirotkin – who was filling in for Christian Lundgaard who was under quarantine – and Yuki Tsunoda with 45 minutes remaining. A red flag was brought out after Luca Ghiotto stopped out on track, disrupting the session.
Once running resumed, Piquet set the benchmark time of 1:41.877, which would not be eclipsed for the remainder of the session. Matushita and Daruvala once again rounded out the top three, with Williams F1 test driver Roy Nissany finishing in fourth and Armstrong in fifth.
The second day of testing will begin tomorrow at 1:45am NZT.