Théo Pourchaire and Jüri Vips managed to take P2 and P3 respectively in the first Qualifying session of the 2022 FIA Formula 2 Championship, despite frustrating sessions for both drivers.
The two highest-placed returning drivers from last season will start right at the pointy end of Sunday’s Feature Race, but neither driver felt they had a perfect Friday when speaking to F2 media.
Pourchaire finished just over a tenth behind polesitter Jack Doohan, but made life difficult for himself when his first quick lap was deleted for going beyond track limits at turn 4.
“There was a lot of pressure [on my final lap time] because otherwise I would have been P14, so I needed to do a really good lap, and I did the job.
“It was difficult mentally, I was screaming on the radio, because it felt like I was in the track limits, then I saw the video and it was clearly a mistake from my side.
“I did a good lap on the first push and then my engineer told me my lap time was deleted, so I needed to concentrate on the last push otherwise I was P14. It was not easy.”
Jüri Vips nearly collided with rookie Dennis Hauger at the pit exit while on a fast lap, and was hindered by traffic on his flying lap.
“The car was amazing, the lap was very good as well. I’m very happy but I’m slightly annoyed because I got traffic in the middle sector, there was a car parked on the apex of turn 11. Mixed emotions but a very encouraging session.”
“It was a bit of a rookie error from [Hauger]’s side. We got quite lucky, that could have been a big shunt.”
Despite such a close call, the Estonian driver was able to quickly put the incident to the back of his mind, and set a rapid qualifying lap.
“It happened at the beginning of the straight and by the end of the straight I’d already forgotten about it. It’s fine, you just deal with it.”
Pourchaire and Vips will line up P9 and P8 respectively tomorrow as the top 10 positions are reversed for the Sprint Race.
Both drivers will hope for a more straightforward weekend to guarantee a strong opening round as they try to build a title challenge.