Silverstone F2: Zhou leads Virtuosi 1-2 in qualifying

Renault Formula 1 junior Guan Yu Zhou became the first rookie of the season to take a Formula 2 pole, leading a Virtuosi Racing 1-2 in qualifying at Silverstone.

Silverstone F2: Zhou leads Virtuosi 1-2 in qualifying

At one point during the session the top six was separated by 0.051s around the 3.6-mile track, but Zhou emerged in the closing stages with a phenomenal lap of 1m38.182s, pulling three tenths clear of the chasing pack.

Zhou’s practice-topping teammate Luca Ghiotto improved in the closing stages to trail by just over two tenths and lock out the front row for the team formerly known as Russian Time.

Sergio Sette Camara – coming off a win at the last round in Austria – took his DAMS-run car to third, the McLaren-affiliated driver beating his Williams-linked teammate Nicholas Latifi.

Carlin’s Louis Deletraz gave the reigning teams’ champions a top-five slot, while Ferrari-backed Briton Callum Ilott’s much-improved form continued with sixth for the Charouz-run Sauber Junior Team.

Points leader Nyck de Vries appeared to be struggling in practice, and carried those struggles through to qualifying with a time 0.4s off pole.

That was one tenth clear of Campos driver Jack Aitken, who had looked like a challenger pole before a slightly scruffy last lap destroyed his chances. 

Austria feature race winner Nobuharu Matsushita took ninth for Carlin, while another British-based team, Arden, rounded out the top 10 with reigning GP3 champion Anthoine Hubert

Mick Schumacher will start 13th. The Ferrari-supported Prema Racing driver encountered traffic on his hot lap, which had started around the pace of the leaders in the first sector.

Dorian Boccolacci took 15th in his first qualifying session for Trident, after missing the Red Bull Ring races following his split with Campos.

Mahaveer Raghunathan – who was banned for Austria after reaching too many penalty points on his licence – returned to MP Motorsport and finished last, 3.5s off the pace.

UPDATE: Prema's Sean Gelael was subsequently handed a three-place grid penalty for his practice incident with Deletraz, dropping him from 18th on the grid to 20th and last.

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Silverstone F2: Ghiotto leads Latifi in practice

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