Zhou keeps Bahrain F2 pole but receives reprimand

Guanyu Zhou will keep his FIA Formula 2 Championship Bahrain pole position but has been handed a reprimand following the outcome of an FIA investigation.

Zhou keeps Bahrain F2 pole but receives reprimand

The UNI Virtuosi driver triggered a post-qualifying investigation, initially listed for taking the chequered flag twice, after the Chinese driver went to the Formula 1 pitlane, instead of the support pitlane after the session.

Following the conclusion of the investigation, Motorsport.com understands Zhou will keep the pole position and the four championship points that come with it.

The FIA has however issued Zhou a reprimand for breaching Article 12.2.1 of the FIA's International Sporting Code.

As a result, Zhou will start Sunday's feature race from pole but will begin tomorrow's opening race from 10th, virtue of the championship's new-for-2021 top 10 reverse grid qualifying format that will see David Beckmann on pole.

"I actually did not take the chequered flag twice but basically I didn't go into the support pitlane after the chequered flag, I went to the F1 pitlane instead so I'm sure I didn't take it twice," said Zhou when asked about the FIA investigation in the post-qualifying press conference.

Reflecting on his performance in what was a dramatic qualifying, the Alpine Academy driver described his 1:42.848s effort that pipped Christian Lundgaard by 0.003s as one of his best ever qualifying laps.

"To be honest with you it was one of the greatest laps I have done in qualifying in F2," he said.

"It was going quite well, especially as we had a quite a different strategy to the others so it put a lot of pressure on my side to get that first lap done and we managed to maximise that lap.

"It was quite a nervous, tricky lap for me and it was quite on the edge, but was really happy to get the first pole of the year."

Despite admitting to being 'hurt' to be beaten by his Alpine Academy rival, Lundgaard declared himself happy with his qualifying performance.

"I'm happy to be sitting here but it hurts to be beaten by three thousandths by my [Alpine] Academy mate but otherwise I'm happy. I wasn't expecting this after practice," said Lundgaard.

Looking ahead to tomorrow's pair of sprint races both Zhou and Lundgaard are refusing to rule out the prospect of making a pit stop in either race, given the tyre degradation sustained from the abrasive track surface.

"Tomorrow is going to be very warm it is going to be tricky as we need to keep a soft set for Sunday's race," added Lundgaard.

"I think Race 1 and Race 2 there can be a pit stop, I can't really say which one it will be if any, it all depends on safety cars, virtual safety cars and how the race pans out.

Zhou added: "If there is a pits stop it will be either Race 1 or Race 2 but it all depends on tyre deg, speed through the race and how the safety car plays out."

The opening 45-minute race of the 2021 F2 season is due to begin on Saturday morning at 1025 GMT.

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Bahrain F2: Zhou takes pole but under investigation
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