Sochi F2: Piastri pips Daruvala for pole position hat-trick

Formula 2 championship leader Oscar Piastri scored his third pole position in a row after pipping Jehan Daruvala in a frantic finish to qualifying at Sochi Autodrom.

Sochi F2: Piastri pips Daruvala for pole position hat-trick

Piastri saved his best until the final minute to log a 1m47.465s effort to edge Daruvala by 0.188s as a flurry of fast times arrived in the climax of qualifying.

The Australian was sitting second after the first run on the supersoft tyres behind title rival Guanyu Zhou, before moving to provisional pole in the final 10 minutes. 

Daruvala then snatched the pole away from the Prema driver in the final minute, but Piastri had one last effort, which was enough to take the pole for Sunday’s feature race and claim the four championship points. 

ART Grand Prix’s Theo Pourchaire climbed to third with his final effort, demoting Zhou to fourth while Ralph Boschung was fifth.

Dan Ticktum will start from pole for Saturday’s opening sprint race courtesy of the reversal of the top 10 from qualifying.

Qualifying began five minutes earlier than planned following a change to the weekend schedule that has resulted in bringing the opening Formula 3 race forward from Saturday to Friday afternoon due to concerns over weather.

HWA’s Jake Hughes, standing in for the injured Jack Aitken, set the initial pace with his first push lap on the super soft tyres, clocking a 1m48.915s.

However, times tumbled quickly after the second round of push laps as Boschung jumped to the top of the timesheets as he brought the session best down to a 1m48.264s.

Piastri was next to strike shaving another tenth from that before his title rival Zhou responded moments later as the Chinese driver became the first to dip into the 1m47s bracket.

At the halfway point, Zhou headed Piastri with Daruvala in third ahead of Boschung, Felipe Drugovich and Robert Shwartzman. The top 10 was completed by Christian Lundgaard, David Beckmann, Liam Lawson and Juri Vips, with only six tenths covering the group ahead of their second runs.

The final 10 minutes proved to be a frantic affair as drivers fought over clean air on track for their final laps.

Piastri didn’t waste any time as he fired his Prema to the top, edging Zhou by 0.025s, as Shwartzman jumped to third, while Lawson moved to fourth.    

However, Daruvala immediately responded to take the spot away from the Prema driver, but it was short-lived as Piastri fired in a time to snatch pole at the death.

The top 10 was completed by Hughes, Shwartzman, Lawson, Vips and Ticktum.   

The opening F2 sprint race of the weekend is scheduled to start on Saturday at 0730 GMT.

Sochi F2 - Qualifying results:

Cla # Driver Team Time Gap
1 2 Australia Oscar Piastri
Italy Prema Powerteam 1'47.465
2 6 India Jehan Daruvala
United Kingdom Carlin 1'47.653 0.188
3 10 France Theo Pourchaire
France ART Grand Prix 1'47.891 0.426
4 3 China Guanyu Zhou
United Kingdom UNI-Virtuosi 1'47.994 0.529
5 21 Switzerland Ralph Boschung
Spain Campos Racing 1'48.024 0.559
6 22 United Kingdom Jake Hughes
HWA Racelab 1'48.073 0.608
7 1 Russian Federation Robert Shwartzman
Italy Prema Powerteam 1'48.098 0.633
8 7 New Zealand Liam Lawson
United Kingdom HitechGP 1'48.129 0.664
9 8 Estonia Jüri Vips
United Kingdom HitechGP 1'48.139 0.674
10 5 United Kingdom Dan Ticktum
United Kingdom Carlin 1'48.171 0.706
11 17 New Zealand Marcus Armstrong
France DAMS 1'48.190 0.725
12 9 Denmark Christian Lundgaard
France ART Grand Prix 1'48.255 0.790
13 4 Brazil Felipe Drugovich
United Kingdom UNI-Virtuosi 1'48.286 0.821
14 20 Germany David Beckmann
Spain Campos Racing 1'48.428 0.963
15 11 Netherlands Richard Verschoor
Netherlands MP Motorsport 1'48.587 1.122
16 24 Netherlands Bent Viscaal
Italy Trident 1'48.662 1.197
17 12 Germany Lirim Zendeli
Netherlands MP Motorsport 1'48.785 1.320
18 16 Israel Roy Nissany
France DAMS 1'48.989 1.524
19 15 Brazil Guilherme Samaia
Czech Republic Charouz Racing System 1'49.226 1.761
20 25 Japan Marino Sato
Italy Trident 1'49.339 1.874
21 14 Brazil Enzo Fittipaldi
Czech Republic Charouz Racing System 1'49.465 2.000
22 23 Italy Alessio Deledda
HWA Racelab 1'50.389 2.924
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