Callum Ilott demolished his championship rivals in F2 qualifying under the lights at Bahrain International Circuit to claim his 5th pole of the season. Ilott used an offset strategy compared to his rivals to ensure he was always running in clear air.
The British driver’s margin over his nearest challenger Felipe Drugovich was almost four-tenths of a second. Ilott adds the four points from pole position in his pocket. His championship deficit to Schumacher is now just 18 points.
It was a disastrous evening for title contender Yuki Tsunoda who was looking likely to be Ilott’s nearest challenger. The Honda Junior was caught out by a snap of oversteer at Turn 12 sending his car onto the vicious-looking kerb and into a spin. Most of his radio transmissions were bleeped when he learned that he could not be pushed by a marshal. Yuki will be starting 22nd on the grid.
Mick Schumacher has been Mr Consistent in maximising his race results this season but qualifying has been a weak point. And that was the case again this time. Schumacher was 8/10ths from Ilott as he crossed the line to go 6th. But he was then swiftly demoted by Alesi, Mazepin, Deruvala and Lundgaard.
It was the best grid position of the year for Guiliano Alesi and only his second top 10 grid position this season. This was despite him pulling over to the side of the track with a suspected turbo failure during the closing minutes. Replays showed him wildly gesticulating for a marshal to extinguish the turbo fire threatening to destroy the Frenchman’s car.
F2 Bahrain Qualifying results
The starting position for tomorrow’s race is scintillating for viewers. Ilott can hurl himself right into the thick of it with Schumacher so far back. The two-month absence of F2 is now long forgotten. After today’s Bahrain qualifying and practice, anything could happen in the races this weekend.