Virtuosi Racing’s Jack Doohan led the morning session on Day 2 of the FIA Formula 2 Championship’s post-season test at the Yas Marina Circuit, setting a new best lap of the test and beating Ayumu Iwasa’s pole position time from last weekend.
Doohan set his session-topping lap, a 1:35.990, with 55 minutes to go on the 27th of 44 laps. The Australian driver once again had a productive morning after recording session-high tallies of 41 and 59 laps in yesterday’s two sessions.
Longtime leader Jehan Daruvala, testing with MP Motorsport, ended up second on the day with a 1:36.160. Daruvala was just five thousandths faster than DAMS’ Iwasa in third, the last driver to exceed his own pole time.
Just six-hundredths covered the drivers in fourth through eighth, with Campos’ Ralph Boschung leading Carlin’s Enzo Fittipaldi in that group. Boschung’s 2023 Campos teammate Kush Maini was sixth and the fastest rookie, with F2 veteran and Charouz tester Roy Nissany in seventh and 2022 runner-up Théo Pourchaire eighth for ART Grand Prix.
MP Motorsport’s Dennis Hauger ended the day ninth on a 1:36.427 after losing his early best lap of a 1:36.135, which would have been good enough for second overall, to a track limits infringement.
ART Grand Prix’s Victor Martins, who is stepping up to F2 after winning the F3 title, rounded out the top 10 despite an accident in Turn 16 near the one-hour mark that necessitated a 37-minute red flag period for barrier repairs.
The first hour of Thursday’s session was much more productive than the first hour of Wednesday’s, with almost all drivers on track within the first five minutes. DAMS’ Arthur Leclerc set the first timed lap of the morning, and Fittipaldi, Doohan, Nissany, Pourchaire and Iwasa all took turns at the top of the timesheets as the track rubbered in.
Fittipaldi was the first driver to breach the 1m37s barrier 11 minutes into the session before Daruvala and Boschung soon went faster. The Indian driver then reclaimed the top spot with a 1:36.262 22 minutes into the session before beating his own best attempt at the 45-minute mark.
Martins’ incident, the only major one of the session, brought proceedings to a halt for much of the second hour. Thereafter, a number of drivers focused on long runs rather than on setting fast laps.
The top three drivers from yesterday – VAR’s Richard Verschoor and the Prema pair of Frederik Vesti and Ollie Bearman – all focused on race runs at the end of the session, with Bearman only going out on track in the final hour.
Vesti set a session-high 53 laps, his best attempt of a 1:36.596 good enough for 11th. Trident’s Clément Novalak took 12th, ahead of Carlin’s Zane Maloney, Verschoor and Leclerc.
Amaury Cordeel in 16th as the final driver within a second of his teammate Doohan, though he lost his two best laps – one of which would have put him fifth – for exceeding track limits on each one.
Drivers on the F3 grid in 2022 once again occupied the bottom places on the timesheets. Isack Hadjar was the lead Hitech in 17th ahead of Roman Stanek of Trident and Brad Benavides of Charouz.
Juan Manuel Correa returned to VAR after sitting out yesterday’s sessions and took 20th, also tying Vesti’s record of 53 laps. After an accident yesterday afternoon, Jak Crawford returned to the track and took 21st for Hitech, while Bearman brought up the rear, recording only lap times from his race run.