Gabriel Bortoleto Claims Pole Position in Drama-Filled Imola Qualifying

Gabriel Bortoleto Claims Pole Position in Drama-Filled Imola Qualifying

Bortoleto takes F2 pole at Imola in track limits-dominated session

Invicta’s Gabriel Bortoleto clinched pole position in a thrilling Formula 2 qualifying session at Imola, which saw numerous lap times deleted due to track limits infringements.

Formula 2 returned to Imola after a two-year hiatus, following a two-month break since the last championship round in Melbourne. The only recent representative mileage for the F2 grid was the in-season testing at Barcelona.

Championship leader Zane Maloney set the initial benchmark during the opening runs, but Prema’s Oliver Bearman and Campos driver Isack Hadjar soon surpassed his time.

Campos driver Pepe Marti triggered the first yellow flag of the session after a close call at Variante Tamburello but managed to continue without major incident.

McLaren junior Gabriel Bortoleto briefly led after the first runs, ahead of Hadjar and Joshua Duerksen. However, Maloney reclaimed the top spot on his second attempt.

AIX duo Duerksen and Taylor Barnard secured P4 and P5 during their first runs, followed by championship contender Paul Aron. Franco Colapinto narrowly avoided a crash at Acque Minerali, continuing the session unscathed.

Bortoleto set a new benchmark time of 1:27.739 with 17 minutes remaining, prompting all drivers to pit for fresh supersoft tyres. At the end of the first stint, Invicta led with Bortoleto, followed by Maloney and Hadjar. AIX remained in fourth and fifth, with Aron, Bearman, Maini, Cordeel, and Verschoor completing the top ten.

Mercedes prospect Andrea Kimi Antonelli had a competitive time deleted for track limits and pitted. Dennis Hauger led the pack back on track for the second stint, fitted with fresh supersoft tyres. Jack Crawford struggled with car issues throughout the session and failed to set a time in the first stint.

ART Grand Prix managed an issue with Victor Martins’ car after a gravel trap run-off. With six minutes to go, Bearman took provisional pole with a 1:27.111, followed by Hadjar and Antonelli in second and third respectively. Bearman’s performance was notable, having been in the Haas F1 car earlier for FP1 as part of his development programme.

Just as it seemed no one would improve, Gabriel Bortoleto found the pace to secure pole position, going half a tenth faster than Bearman. The session concluded with Bortoleto on pole, followed by Bearman and Hadjar in the top three. Antonelli finished fourth, Duerksen fifth, and Championship Leader Maloney sixth. Stanek, Aron, and Colapinto rounded out the top nine, with Enzo Fittipaldi in tenth, securing reverse grid pole for the Sprint race.

Despite a strong showing for Prema, both their drivers were relegated to P16 and P18 post-session for track limits violations at Turns 17-18. They were not alone, as many drivers had times deleted after the session ended, including Colapinto, Aron, Maini, Barnard, Crawford, Cordeel, Correa, and Villagomez.

The final top 10 after the deletions: Bortoleto, Hadjar, Duerksen, Maloney, Stanek, Fittipaldi, Hauger, Marti, Verschoor, and Colapinto securing reverse grid pole.

Formula 2 - Imola - Qualifying Result
Formula 2 – Imola – Qualifying Result

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Bortoleto takes F2 pole at Imola in track limits-dominated session