Nikita Mazepin went fastest in a double red flag interrupted F2 practice session in Bahrain. This was the first track session for Round 11 of the FIA Formula 2 championship.
The session start was slightly delayed with a shower of rain falling on the track an hour before the session. And the cars were late getting from the support pits to the F1 pitlane. Indeed Robert Shwartzman was still pulling into the pits as the light went green.
The regular red flag of Bahrain
We had a comedic moment early on as series veteran Artem Markelov span in the final corner. He left his stalled car on the outside of the circuit but it was seen to roll back across the track and into the inside wall. Fortunately, this was under the red flag.
The session was restarted after a 6-minute delay to recover the car but was red-flagged again 5 minutes later when Marino Sato also span and stalled at the final corner.
With 20 minutes left on the clock, the green light was shown once again. We saw light rain on the onboard cameras and Callum Ilott appeared to be particularly struggling with the conditions, sawing at the wheel whenever we went on board his UNI-Virtuosi.
Roy Nissany span at Turn 8 and his attempted rejoin of the track forced Yuki Tsunoda wide onto the kerb. Let’s hope he doesn’t cause any problems in F1 practice later on.
There were a number of drivers struggling with lockups into Turn 10 which we often see at Bahrain in F2. Drivers struggling into the left-hander include Tsunoda, Mazepin and Delétraz.
It was a strong session for the Carlin pair of Jehan Daruvala and Yuki Tsunoda who ended the session 2nd and 3rd but no one could touch Nikita Mazepin who ended the session fastest on a 1:42.660. We can expect to see the times improve as the weekend progresses.
Mick Schumacher finished 10th and his main title rival Ilott was 14th as F2 returned to Bahrain.