Russian Time drivers Artem Markelov (1m31.266s) and Luca Ghiotto (1m31.529s) will start fourth and 11th on the grid respectively in tomorrow’s Monza F2 feature race.
It was a strange day at the famous Autodromo, with Artem and Luca first and second in free practice, both drivers setting quicker times on the prime tyre in that session than they managed in qualifying on the softer option rubber! They were not the only ones to experience the phenomenon, with championship leader Charles Leclerc suffering the same thing and qualifying seventh. Pole position was claimed by Nobuharu Matsushita (1m30.982s), ahead of Nyck De Vries (1m31.071s) and Louis Deletraz (1m31.239s)
Artem Markelov: «The car felt great this morning when I set the fastest time and we left it alone for qualifying. The track temperature had risen though and I suddenly found that I had understeer, particulatly at the second chicane and the two Lesmos. That cost me about sixth tenths and even though I set the best time in sector three, I was still down on my morning time. Still, the second row is not bad and I will push hard in the race.»
Luca Ghiotto: «As Artem said, we looked to be in great shape in practice but the car didn’t feel as strong in qualifying. To add to that, on my last run Ferrucci had a suspension problem in front of me. He was in the middle of the track and I wasn’t sure which way to go and had to lift off the throttle. My other sectors were similar to Artem’s and so we have the pace. Another consolation is that our main championship rivals also had tricky days.»
Svetlana Strelnikova (Team principal): «That was a strange day, with a qualifying order that I don’t think many would have predicted. Artem is still in a strong position to challenge for the win and Luca has shown his fighting spirit many times already this season. Although he was less than three tenths from Artem, the times were so close that this was the difference between fourth and 11th. Rest assured though, Luca will attack as well.”