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Richard Verschoor secures maiden pole position in tight battle around Monaco

Written by Caitlyn Gordon

Credits: Formula 2

A tight battle for pole saw Richard Verschoor clinch his maiden pole position, denying Victor Martins by a mere 0.027s. Maloney heads into the weekend as the championship leader; however, Aron is split from the Barbadian by just three points. Hadjar lurks in the background as well, sitting behind by nine points.

How it unfolded

Qualifying was split into two 15-minute groups according to car numbers, group A consisting of even-numbered cars with group B containing drivers with odd-numbered cars. 

Richard Verschoor as he heads around the crown jewel in Monaco; Credits: Formula 2

Verschoor set the first benchmark of the session with a 1:31.058. This time was quickly bettered with the Dutchman bettering his time and entering the 1:23’s. However, just behind him was Zak O’Sullivan, who was flying around the circuit and setting purple sectors. He crossed the line with 1:23.118. 

O’Sullivan seemed to be in a league of his own, maintaining his place at the top of the board. Verschoor stuck close to the Briton’s time, jumping into the 1:22’s; however, the ART driver wasn’t letting pole out of his site and bettered his time once again

In the midst of flying laps, Hadjar headed into the tunnel. Just millimetres ahead, Ritomo Miyata was trundling along, having reliability issues. The Frenchman’s quick reaction meant he was able to dodge Miyata’s rolling car, which meant a disaster was avoided. The Rodin racer retreated to the pits, retiring for the session.

Close call between Hadjar and Miyata; Credits: Formula 2

Back up at the front, Bortoleto was in contention for pole, hitting the inside of the wall at the Tabec corner. This didn’t hinder his time, he jumped to the top of the board with half a tenth leeway to O’Sullivan. However, as more drivers crossed the line, jumping up the board and switching positions, it became a guessing game of who could secure provisional pole.

Noted in the session was an incident of impeding involving Antonelli and Juan Manuel Correa. After a review a three-place grid penalty was handed out to the latter, which he will serve for the sprint race.

As the final minutes ticked down, Verschoor sat on the top of the board with a 1:21.283. Hadjar couldn’t improve his time and finished the session in fourth, one-tenth off Verschoor’s time. Colapinto rounded out group A’s top three. 

Group B was next to take to the circuit, but green flag conditions didn’t last long. The session's first and only red flag was brought out after Rafael Villagómez lost control and slammed into the barriers at Turn 1.

When the debris was cleared, nine minutes remained on the clock, and the 15 drivers headed out to set competitive times. 

Martins heading around the circuit; Credits: Formula 2

Victor Martins was the first driver to clock a time in with a 1:22.690. Stanêk followed suit, going two-tenths clear of the Frenchman’s time. 

Stanêk quickly bettered his time, entering the 1:21’s, closing in on his teammate's best lap time. 

During the final few minutes, Hauger was hit with some bad luck. A yellow flag flew in sectors two and three causing Stanêk to slow his car down. The flag was quickly lifted, but the Czech driver was running slow, hindering Hauger’s fast lap. The Norwegian crossed the line in fourth three-tenths off provisional pole. 

Martins was flying, making Verschoor sit on the edge of his seat as he waited to see who was awarded pole. The Frenchman put everything out on the track and crossed the line with a 1:21.310, slotting him into second, just 0.027s off Verschoor’s time. 

Taylor Barnard, who slotted his car into tenth, will start in reverse pole position for the sprint race.

Two impeding incidents were noted in the session, resulting in Bearman and Maini being issued with three-place grid penalties each for the sprint race. 

Verschoor’s reaction

In a press conference attended by Divebomb, Verschoor gave his thoughts on his qualifying session, expressing his happiness for his maiden pole, but admitting he struggled with a significant amount of understeer.

“I’m happy to show that I can compete with the best.” 

“In terms of balance, for me I had quite a bit of understeer, so I couldn’t really push the car the way I wanted. I had the feeling I was always late in many corners, but as I said before, it was in the window so the car was good enough to push.”

“It could have been better, but I’m not complaining.” He added.

Hadjar issues his thoughts on the tunnel incident

In regarding the incident Hadjar was involved with, he spoke about the close call from his perspective:

“There was a car, stopped, and I avoided it. Because I was on a quali lap, it wasn’t until I looked at the footage after the session, I was like ‘Okay, that could’ve been bad.’ I was mad I had to lift and lose time there.”

The top 10

1 - Richard Verschoor

2 - Victor Martins

3 - Isack Hadjar

4 - Paul Aron

5 - Franco Colapinto

6 - Roman Stanêk

7 - Kimi Antonelli

8 - Dennis Hauger 

9- Gabriel Bortoleto

10 - Taylor Barnard

Full results can be found here.


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