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FIA F2 Barcelona

Williams junior explains bizarre F2 qualifying moment after pole near-miss

Frustration caused Franco Colapinto to veer off the track in Barcelona after narrowly missing out on a maiden Formula 2 pole position

Franco Colapinto (ARG, MP Motorsport)

Williams junior Franco Colapinto revealed that he veered off track on Barcelona's pit straight in Formula 2 qualifying in his frustration at missing pole position by just 0.006s.

Such were the fine margins in what was comfortably the closest session so far in 2024, the first season with a new car that replaced the previous generation machine used since 2018, that the MP Motorsport driver was even relegated from the front row.

DAMS driver Jack Crawford, one of the last drivers to cross the line on Friday, demoted Colapinto to third with a time 0.002s back on polesitter Paul Aron (Hitech).

After completing his final lap, Colapinto put two wheels on the grass before regaining control to avoid an embarrassing and potentially costly error that could have cost the Argentine his best times had it resulted in a red flag.

“Paul got it right today and when you nail everything, those last thousandths come,” Colapinto said when asked by Motorsport.com about his session.

“I was not very happy when I crossed the line. I was saying so many bad words on the radio that I even forgot to see the road was straight and went straight off after I finished the lap.”

He added: “As you can imagine, I was not very happy out of the last corner but on the other hand, to not be happy and be in P3, it’s quite nice as well, I guess.

“We’re still looking for those last thousandths to improve with the team and to have P3 as our best qualifying position of the year, we still want more.

“When you are P3 by only six-thousandths, it doesn’t feel so good. If it had been two-tenths, I would have felt a lot better. But the good news is that we are looking very competitive.

“It is also positive to be there without having the perfect lap.”

Franco Colapinto (ARG, MP Motorsport)

Franco Colapinto (ARG, MP Motorsport)

Photo by: Simon Galloway / Motorsport Images

His fellow Formula 3 graduate Aron's first F2 pole secured him two bonus points that have extended his championship lead to four points over Campos rival Isack Hadjar.

Aron's chances of extending this advantage have been heightened by poor days for his main rivals, with Hadjar (11th), Dennis Hauger (13th) and Zane Maloney (17th) not benefitting from the partially reverse grid in Saturday’s sprint race.

The Estonian, who is yet to win a race this year or start a feature race from the top three, remarked: “I always try to do my best and go for the pole position and luckily, today I was on the good side of fate”.

Not only were the gaps minimal between the front three, but this trend continued down the order as 0.105 split the top five, while the top 19 drivers set times within a second of pole.

Discounting Monaco where the field was split into two groups to avoid congestion, this set a new high water mark for the number of drivers within 1s. Previously, 18 cars had been covered by that margin in both Bahrain and Saudi Arabia.

However the 0.105s measure that covered the top five was positively gargantuan when compared to the 0.088s gap of the Bahrain opener, although the top three were not as close there as 0.067s covered Gabriel Bortoleto, Hadjar and Maloney.

 

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