Monaco F2: Pourchaire takes dominant pole ahead of Shwartzman

Formula 2 rookie Theo Pourchaire blitzed qualifying with a stunning lap to secure pole position for the feature race at Monaco.

The ART Grand Prix driver proved the star of the show, posting a 1m20.985s which was unable to be matched by his rivals, claiming four championship points in the process.

As in previous seasons, F2 has elected to split qualifying into two 16-minute sessions to help ease traffic flow on the tight and twisty Monaco street circuit. Each group consisted 11 cars with even numbered entries in Group A first on track and odd numbered cars in the final Group B session.

Effectively, the qualifying groups decide even and odd numbered positions on the grid with the order dependent on which group provides the fastest overall time.

As Pourchaire’s time came from Group A, the Frenchman will start Saturday afternoon’s featured race from pole ahead of Prema Racing’s Robert Shwartzman who topped Group B.

Oscar Piastri was third fastest and will share the second row with carlin’s Dan Ticktum with Juri Vips fifth and Ralph Boschung sixth.

The top 10 was rounded out by Roy Nissany, Christian Lundgaard, Felipe Drugovich and championship leader Guanyu Zhou.

Zhou will however inherit pole for Friday’s first sprint race courtesy of the reverse top 10 of the qualifying results. 

HWA driver Alessio Deledda failed to set a time within the 107% rule and will require special permission from stewards to be allowed to take part in the remainder of the event.

Qualifying Group A

Pourchaire fired in a blistering final lap to top the Group A qualifying session.

The teenager posted a 1m20.985s effort which was a four tenths faster than Piastri, while Hitech Grand Prix’s Vips was third despite hitting the barrier and bending his steering in the closing stages.

Nissany was fourth for DAMS ahead of UNI-Virtuosi’s Felipe Drugovich in fifth with Jehan Daruvala in sixth.

Bent Viscaal set the first real indicative time before the Trident man was beaten by Gianluca Petecof with a 1m26.008s in his repaired Campos Racing entry after a spectacular engine failure in the earlier practice session.  

Nissany was next to threaten the top of the times but he was quickly deposed by Piastri and Pourchaire, the latter posting a 1m22.843s.

The order changed moments later when Vips went three tenths faster to surge to the top ahead of Drugovich.  

Nissany responded on his next run but Pourchaire eclipsed that to move back to the head of the field. 

However, in the final moments, Pourchaire showed his class to further improve on his effort to lead Piastri and Vips, who briefly held the top spot.

Qualifying Group B

Shwartzman topped the times in Group B but it was not enough to eclipse the fastest time overall set by Pourchaire. 

It wasn’t until the second half of the session that the field began to fire in any meaningful times.

First to do so was Ticktum who posted a 1m23.390s, which was more than two seconds shy of the pace set by Pourchaire in Group A. 

Zhou managed a time a second quicker on his first run as he headed Boschung, Lundgaard, Armstrong and Shwartzman as Ticktum dropped to sixth.

Ticktum responded but was eclipsed by Shwartzman, although the pace was still well adrift of Pourchaire. 

In the end, Shwartzman ended up fastest in the group from Ticktum, Boschung, Lundgaard and Zhou.

The first of two 30 lap F2 sprint races is scheduled for Friday at 09:45 GMT.

Group A results:

Cla # Driver Team Time Gap
1 10 France Theo Pourchaire
France ART Grand Prix 1'20.985
2 2 Australia Oscar Piastri
Italy Prema Powerteam 1'21.443 0.458
3 8 Estonia Jüri Vips
United Kingdom HitechGP 1'21.523 0.538
4 16 Israel Roy Nissany
France DAMS 1'22.102 1.117
5 4 Brazil Felipe Drugovich
United Kingdom UNI-Virtuosi 1'22.131 1.146
6 6 India Jehan Daruvala
United Kingdom Carlin 1'22.244 1.259
7 14 Germany David Beckmann
Czech Republic Charouz Racing System 1'22.585 1.600
8 24 Netherlands Bent Viscaal
Italy Trident 1'22.827 1.842
9 12 Germany Lirim Zendeli
Netherlands MP Motorsport 1'22.933 1.948
10 20 Brazil Gianluca Petecof
Spain Campos Racing 1'23.344 2.359
11 22 United Kingdom Jack Aitken
HWA Racelab 1'23.353 2.368

Group B results:

Cla # Driver Team Time Gap
1 1 Russian Federation Robert Shwartzman
Italy Prema Powerteam 1'21.403
2 5 United Kingdom Dan Ticktum
United Kingdom Carlin 1'21.589 0.186
3 21 Switzerland Ralph Boschung
Spain Campos Racing 1'21.854 0.451
4 9 Denmark Christian Lundgaard
France ART Grand Prix 1'21.877 0.474
5 3 China Guanyu Zhou
United Kingdom UNI-Virtuosi 1'21.912 0.509
6 7 New Zealand Liam Lawson
United Kingdom HitechGP 1'21.941 0.538
7 17 New Zealand Marcus Armstrong
France DAMS 1'22.168 0.765
8 11 Netherlands Richard Verschoor
Netherlands MP Motorsport 1'22.758 1.355
9 25 Japan Marino Sato
Italy Trident 1'24.091 2.688
10 15 Brazil Guilherme Samaia
Czech Republic Charouz Racing System 1'24.302 2.899
11 23 Italy Alessio Deledda
HWA Racelab 1'27.744 6.341
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