It was a bittersweet qualifying session for PREMA Racing at Bahrain International Circuit. Starting his second season in the series at the desert venue of Sakhir, Russian Robert Shwartzman was sidelined by an issue after only a few laps. Rookie Oscar Piastri posted a positive 8th place to start tomorrow’s sprint race 1 from the second row.
Entering the first qualifying session of his F2 career, Piastri experienced a smooth run and consistently improved his lap times. He took P9, maximizing his first set of tyres in high traffic conditions, and then moved up to P8 at the end.
Shwartzman, who had rounded out the top-5 with his first set of tyres, was stopped early in his second run when his car went into safety mode at the end of his out lap. While he had to settle for P12, he will have plenty of chances for a rebound with two reverse grid.
# 1 – Robert Shwartzman
“Qualifying didn’t go as we wanted to. The first run wasn’t bad, to be honest. I made a few small mistakes that compromised the lap time compared to others, but I knew we could have set the same lap times of the guys in front. With my second set, I was very confident that we could do a really good job. Unfortunately, after my warm up lap, the car stopped because of a system that places it into driver safety mode if you hit too hard the brakes while on the throttle. While warming up, I overreached the limit of braking, and my car switched off. I was not able to restart anymore, and we basically lost our second run in qualy and a top-5 starting position. I’m very disappointed but judging from testing, I think we have a great race pace. I’m going to do my absolute best in race 1 and see where we end up. It’s going to be tough, but I will try to pass as many cars as I can and finish in the highest possible position.”
# 2 – Oscar Piastri
"P8 in the first qualifying of the year is definitely not bad, and it’s also nice to start from P3 in the reverse grid for race 1. I had a messy first run which wasn’t ideal preparation for the second. Then the red flag threw another spanner in the works for the prep for set 2, but all in all, it’s not a bad start. I need to work on a few things and as a team, we need to work on the car a little bit, but we’re in the fight and I’m pretty happy about that."