Nicolas Latifi on the front row in F2 Barcelona qualifying


In the only free practice for F2, Luca Ghiotto(1:29.462) and Nicolas Latifi(1:29.462) dominated their rivals by over a second, Latifi trailing Ghiotti by 0.404s.

Latifi was shown in P1 as he came back to the pits towards the end of the session but then knew there were other cars on a good lap. Ghiotto(UNI-Virtuosi Racing) continued his good form in qualifying with a time of 1:28.031 to take pole from Latifi(DAMS) by a mere 0.181s. Latifi’s time was a 1:28.212. Third place went to Guanyu Zhou, Ghiotto’s teammate at UNI-Virtuosi Racing with 1:28.249.

Ask during the press conference when you came back into the pits at the end of qualifying if he thought he had done it, Latifi responded: “My engineer told me that there were still a few cars that were going to go for a second lap, so I knew it was not over until it was officially over. I just kind of felt like I did in Bahrain where I was just sitting in the pits waiting, waiting in the car looking at the big pillar at the end of pit exit to see the numbers, but when I saw Luca’s number go above mine for sure I was a bit frustrated. But no, firstly I’d like to thank the team as well for giving me a good car because in testing here I was quite off the pace in the performance runs, so we did quite a lot of work to analyse and we came here already on a much stronger foot with P2 in quali. We’re still missing quite a bit and we kind of have an idea why, and where that gap might have been from, but then equalling my best qualifying in the series for sure I’m happy with that, but honestly it’s probably the most frustrated I’ve been with a best qualifying position because we did have some braking problems that started in Practice. We thought we’d solved it but for me I feel that we didn’t fully solve it, that it just got worse in the second run, so it took quite a bit of confidence away going into each braking phase, not really sure if I’d make it into the corner or not. Regardless, you always feel like you can find a bit more, you never feel like you’ve done the absolute perfect lap in F2, but this was one for me where I felt there was way, way more in it, also from the driving side. I think I could have found the time to challenge Luca, but thankfully the car itself was quite good and I still managed to be at the front row. Thanks to the team for that, but yeah as Luca said the job is tomorrow for sure, but it’s frustrating to miss out on the four points especially as it would have been my first pole, but there’s bigger points tomorrow so I’m going to be pushing for that.”

Ghiotto and Latifi are in the battle for the championship and Latifi was asked if it is good to have a straight fight with another title rival or is it all about picking up points at this stage of the season?

I think so. It’s early in the season with 20 races to go. You always want to pick up points. To be on the front row with Luca, who I expect is going to be one of my main title rivals throughout the year, for me doesn’t really change much. Whether he’s at the front of the Championship with me or whether it’s someone at the back who’s qualified on pole you still want to push for the win, so that’s what I going to do. 

Only 1 second separates the pole sitter to 16th place Jordan King(MP Motorsport). It promises to be action packed for Race 1 tomorrow just before F1 qualifying takes place.

Image: Formula 2 Championship

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