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Paul Aron claims maiden pole after an intense fight in Barcelona

Written by Caitlyn Gordon, Edited by Tarun Suresh

Image credits: James Sutton

After a month break Formula 2 returns for its sixth round of the 2024 season. Heading into the weekend, Paul Aron tops the standings with a mere two-point advantage over Isack Hadjar. Maloney slipped down the standings after a disastrous weekend out in Monaco, dropping to third. 

Before qualifying, a 45-minute practice session took place, a relatively quiet session saw Kimi Antonelli slide onto the gravel after experiencing oversteer. The session concluded with Aron on top with a 1:26.922, Enzo Fittipaldi and Colapinto rounded out the top three. 

The Estonian continued his spell of strong performances in qualifying by securing his maiden Formula 2 pole around the Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya. But how did it all unfold?

As it happened

The thirty minutes on the clock began ticking down as the grid began to set about the track to prepare for the first step of their flying laps. 

Aron set the first benchmark of the session with a 1:25.385.

A tough start to the Monaco sprint winner’s weekend. Image credits: Formula 2

It wasn’t long before the session came to a halt. The first red flag of the session was brought out after Taylor Barnard slid off the track and hit the Turn 9 barriers, meaning the Briton would be starting from the back of the grid for both races.

With 22 minutes left on the clock, the drivers scrambled to get out and set a time. Aron‘s fastest time was quickly overshadowed by a hungry Hadjar, looking to bounce back after narrowly missing out on a victory in Monaco; the Frenchman was flying around the circuit.

Antonelli just behind, crossed the line in second, a tenth of a second off Hadjar’s time, an excellent attempt from the young Italian. However, in stark contrast, his teammate, Oliver Bearman was struggling with pace. After running in Free Practice 1 for Haas, Bearman struggled to put a contending time on the board and was running down in 18th.

As the ten-minute mark hit, the drivers retreated to the pits. On the boards, Hadjar led the field with a tenth-and-a-half advantage over Antonelli. The final flying laps were being set when the grid exited out of the pits with eight minutes remaining.

Anticipation was building with the lingering question of which driver would claim pole around the circuit. Aron was flying around the circuit, setting purple sectors before crossing the line with a 1:24.766. 

Just behind him, rookie Miyata slotted in a tenth behind the Hitech driver, an incredible lap from the Rodin racer.

His place wasn’t held on for long, as Colapinto was next to cross the line, a strong lap from the Argentinian was hindered after he ran onto the grass, despite this he was able to claim second before dropping a position to Jak Crawford who sliced the gap down between himself and the Estonian to 0.002 seconds. 

Hadjar’s terrible fortune continued as the Frenchman wound up in 11th after being unable to complete a further flying lap. Hadjar echoed his frustration on the radio, a disappointing start to the weekend for the Campos racing driver who is looking to maximise points in his pursuit of the championship.

Saturday’s sprint race will see Maini start on reverse pole position with Martins and Correra rounding out the top of the starting positions. Without a doubt, an exciting battle awaits.

The classification

Aron claimed his maiden pole after an incredible lap around the Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya. Image credits: Formula 2

1 - Paul Aron

2 - Isack Hadjar

3 - Franco Colapinto

4 - Gabriel Bortoleto

5 - Kimi Antonelli

6 - Ritomo Miyata

7 - Joshua Dürksen

8 - Juan Manuel Correa 

9 - Victor Martins

10 - Kush Maini

11 - Isack Hadjar

12 - Zak O’Sullivan

13 - Dennis Hauger

14 - Josep Maria Martí

15 - Oliver Bearman

16 - Enzo Fittipaldi

17 - Zane Maloney

18 - Amaury Cordeel

19 - Richard Verschoor

20 - Rafael Villagómez

21 - Roman Stanêk

22 - Taylor Barnard


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