Bahrain F2: Norris beats Russell to maiden pole

McLaren Formula 1 junior Lando Norris took his maiden Formula 2 pole position for the Bahrain season opener, with Mercedes reserve George Russell completing an all-rookie front row.

Bahrain F2: Norris beats Russell to maiden pole

The reigning European F3 champion set his best time of 1m41.761 with three minutes on the clock, demoting Russell, who led for most of the session, by 0.062s.

Despite running wide at the final turn, Russell was up to first place with his first representative laptime, which remained the benchmark until the mid-session pitstops.

The Mercedes junior then rejoined the track relatively early, with 10 minutes still remaining, and went half a second quicker.

Several drivers including Maximilian Gunther, Jack Aitken and Sergio Sette Camara closed the gap, but it was Norris who finally managed to steal first place.

Norris and Russell eventually ended the session first and second and will form the front row for the first race of 2018.

DAMS' Alex Albon was third, also less then a tenth off the pace, with Prema's Nyck de Vries claiming fourth thanks to a last-minute improvement.

New team Charouz secured fifth courtesy of Louis Deletraz, followed by Norris' Carlin teammate Sette Camara and Honda proteges Nirei Fukuzumi (Arden) and Tadasuke Makino (Russian Time).

Renault reserve Aitken (ART) and Gunther (Arden) had to eventually settle for ninth and 10th respectively.

Last year's runner-up Artem Markelov took a disappointing 17th, the Russian Time driver the only one to try to set a fast lap during the mid-session break.

Qualifying results:

ClaDriverTeamTimeGap
1 united_kingdom Lando Norris  united_kingdom Carlin 1'41.761  
2 united_kingdom George Russell  france ART Grand Prix 1'41.823 0.062
3 thailand Alexander Albon  france DAMS 1'41.850 0.089
4 netherlands Nyck de Vries  Prema Racing 1'41.880 0.119
5 switzerland Louis Deletraz  czech_republic Charouz Racing System 1'42.174 0.413
6   Sergio Sette Camara  united_kingdom Carlin 1'42.221 0.460
7 japan Nirei Fukuzumi  BWT Arden 1'42.246 0.485
8 japan  Tadasuke Makino  russia RUSSIAN TIME 1'42.264 0.503
9 united_kingdom Jack Aitken  france ART Grand Prix 1'42.282 0.521
10   Maximilian Gunther  Arden 1'42.336 0.575
11 italy Antonio Fuoco  czech_republic Charouz Racing System 1'42.342 0.581
12 italy Luca Ghiotto  Campos Racing 1'42.414 0.653
13 spain Roberto Merhi  netherlands MP Motorsport 1'42.423 0.662
14 india Arjun Maini  italy Trident 1'42.437 0.676
15 canada Nicholas Latifi  france DAMS 1'42.447 0.686
16 switzerland Ralph Boschung  netherlands MP Motorsport 1'42.460 0.699
17 russia Artem Markelov  russia RUSSIAN TIME 1'42.816 1.055
18 united_states Santino Ferrucci  italy Trident 1'42.818 1.057
19 indonesia Sean Gelael  Prema Racing 1'43.016 1.255
20 israel Roy Nissany  Campos Racing 1'43.350 1.589
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