Red Bull Ring F2: Tsunoda tops first practice of 2020

Red Bull and Honda junior Yuki Tsunoda sprung a surprise to go quickest in the Formula 2 free practice session at the Red Bull Ring on his competition debut in the category.

Red Bull Ring F2: Tsunoda tops first practice of 2020

The promising Japanese driver, a race winner in the FIA Formula 3 Championship last season, joined the session late as the Carlin team rushed to rectify an engine problem.

Tsunoda had just jumped to the top of the times, just before half an hour of the 45 minutes had elapsed, when the session was red-flagged because Marino Sato had spun into the gravel trap at the Turn 6 left-hander.

At that point Tsunoda was 0.054 seconds faster than F2 veteran Luca Ghiotto, who was giving the Hitech GP squad its debut in F2.

After the restart, with 13 minutes remaining on the clock, none of the top six times changed as everyone remained on the hard-compound Pirellis throughout the whole of the session.

Tsunoda therefore headed the order from Ghiotto, with another F2 debutant, 2019 FIA F3 runner-up and Ferrari protege Marcus Armstrong, rounding out the top three for ART Grand Prix.

A brace of Renault F1 juniors was next, with Guan Yu Zhou fourth as he continues for another season with Virtuosi, and F2 rookie Christian Lundgaard fifth for ART, while yet another F2 newcomer – Felipe Drugovich – was a strong sixth with MP Motorsport.

Reigning FIA F3 champion Robert Shwartzman was the highest-placed driver to set his time after the red flag, the Russian Ferrari-backed prospect lapping seventh quickest with Prema Racing.

Another Carlin Red Bull Junior, Jehan Daruvala, was at the top of the times early on, and he went eighth fastest as he makes his F2 debut.

Rounding out the top 10 were a couple of F2 old hands, with Sean Gelael ninth quickest in his DAMS machine and Louis Deletraz 10th with Charouz Racing System.

Two-time Macau Grand Prix winner Dan Ticktum was 11th for DAMS.

Prema’s Mick Schumacher looked good early on in the session, and had just jumped to the top of the times when a technical problem forced him into the pits, where he stayed for the remainder – he fell to 19th in the times.

Hitech may have seen Ghiotto go second, but its session began disastrously when Nikita Mazepin’s sister car was wheeled back into the paddock, from where it never emerged.

Red Bull Ring practice results:

Cla Driver Team Time Gap
1 Japan Yuki Tsunoda
United Kingdom Carlin 1'15.249
2 Italy Luca Ghiotto
Hitech Grand Prix 1'15.303 0.054
3 New Zealand Marcus Armstrong
France ART Grand Prix 1'15.405 0.156
4 China Guanyu Zhou
United Kingdom UNI-Virtuosi 1'15.468 0.219
5 Denmark Christian Lundgaard
France ART Grand Prix 1'15.509 0.260
6 Brazil Felipe Drugovich
Netherlands MP Motorsport 1'15.598 0.349
7 Russian Federation Robert Shwartzman
Italy Prema Powerteam 1'15.702 0.453
8 India Jehan Daruvala
United Kingdom Carlin 1'15.718 0.469
9 Indonesia Sean Gelael
France DAMS 1'15.928 0.679
10 Switzerland Louis Deletraz
Czech Republic Charouz Racing System 1'15.940 0.691
11 United Kingdom Dan Ticktum
France DAMS 1'16.015 0.766
12 Russian Federation Artem Markelov
BWT HWA Racelab 1'16.028 0.779
13 France Giuliano Alesi
BWT HWA Racelab 1'16.174 0.925
14 United Kingdom Callum Ilott
United Kingdom UNI-Virtuosi 1'16.268 1.019
15 Japan Nobuharu Matsushita
Netherlands MP Motorsport 1'16.334 1.085
16 Brazil Pedro Piquet
Czech Republic Charouz Racing System 1'16.379 1.130
17 Israel Roy Nissany
Italy Trident 1'16.514 1.265
18 United Kingdom Jack Aitken
Spain Campos Racing 1'16.544 1.295
19 Germany Mick Schumacher
Italy Prema Powerteam 1'16.597 1.348
20 Brazil Guilherme Samaia
Spain Campos Racing 1'16.894 1.645
21 Japan Marino Sato
Italy Trident 1'16.905 1.656
22 Russian Federation Nikita Mazepin
Hitech Grand Prix
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