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Günther on top in final day of Bahrain test

German driver sets fastest time overall as Fukuzumi tops afternoon session – Maximilian Günther set the fastest lap of the FIA Formula 2 Championship pre-season test at Sakhir, Bahrain on the final day, leading the way with a 1:42.756 set in the morning session to beat Charouz Racing System’s Louis Delétraz and ART Grand Prix’s George Russell. Günther’s BWT Arden teammate Nirei Fukuzumi was quickest in the afternoon session.

Roy Nissany of Campos Vexatec Racing jumped the rest of the field onto the track, beating DAMS’ Alexander Albon and Fukuzumi out of the pitlane. Günther led the opening stages, making up for a lack of running from the previous day’s afternoon session to take the early advantage.

Although Trident’s Arjun Maini – holder of yesterday’s fastest lap – briefly leapfrogged the German driver, Günther quickly reclaimed the top berth on the timing screens with the only lap in the 1m42s, ending the first hour on top, accosted soon after by Delétraz and RUSSIAN TIME’s Tadasuke Makino.

Jack Aitken (ART Grand Prix) brought out the red flag shortly after the second hour, coming to a halt at turn 8, leaving 45 minutes of the session to run after the track went live once more. Multiple teams took the opportunity to practice tyre changes, with the pitlane becoming a hive of activity after the green flag.

As attention turned to race preparation, Günther’s time remained unchallenged throughout the rest of the session, staying three tenths of a second ahead of Delétraz, as Russell completed the top three ahead of teammate Aitken. Carlin’s Sergio Sette Camara moved ahead of Makino for fifth, as Maini and Luca Ghiotto (Campos) grabbed seventh and eighth. Albon and Charouz’s Antonio Fuoco completed the top half of the field.

Ghiotto was the first driver on track for the afternoon session, taking the initiative ahead of the two Charouz drivers to commence the post-break running. The Italian headed the early timesheets, before Roberto Merhi (MP Motorsport) ended the first half-hour on top with over a second’s advantage over the field.

Although Fuoco, Makino and his RUSSIAN TIME teammate Artem Markelov spent periods of time nestled behind Merhi in the standings, the Spanish driver kept them at arm’s length to retain control of the timing boards going into the final hour of running as the majority focused further on race simulations.

Markelov then came to a halt to bring out the first red flag, the session resuming with 45 minutes left on the clock, before Ralph Boschung (MP) brought out a second just quarter of an hour later. The restart shuffled the order somewhat, with Fukuzumi ending Merhi’s hold on first position before Günther returned to the top of the pile shortly after.

In the final ten minutes, Fukuzumi surged to the lead of the timing boards to complete Arden’s lock-out of both sessions. Günther completed a one-two for the British team with Fuoco third, as Camara and Markelov completed the top five. Long-time leader Merhi ended the day sixth, ahead of British duo Norris and Russell – the latter clocking in 58 laps over the afternoon’s running. Makino held the ninth-best time, as Sean Gelael (PREMA) grabbed tenth ahead of Albon.

The Formula 2 season will officially begin in two weeks’ time – once more at Bahrain – from the 6-8 April for the first races of 2018.

FIA Formula 2 Bahrain Test – Day 3 Morning Session

Driver Team Laptime Laps
1 Maximilian Günther BWT Arden 1:42.756 28
2 Louis Delétraz Charouz Racing System 1:43.058 39
3 George Russell ART Grand Prix 1:43.109 24
4 Jack Aitken ART Grand Prix 1:43.143 24
5 Sergio Sette Camara Carlin 1:43.149 28
6 Tadasuke Makino RUSSIAN TIME 1:43.209 21
7 Arjun Maini Trident 1:43.254 28
8 Luca Ghiotto Campos Vexatec Racing 1:43.266 22
9 Alexander Albon DAMS 1:43.388 29
10 Antonio Fuoco Charouz Racing System 1:43.474 21
11 Lando Norris Carlin 1:43.490 28
12 Artem Markelov RUSSIAN TIME 1:43.682 23
13 Nicholas Latifi DAMS 1:43.715 30
14 Ralph Boschung MP Motorsport 1:43.828 17
15 Nyck de Vries PERTAMINA PREMA Theodore Racing 1:43.876 22
16 Santino Ferrucci Trident 1:43.890 22
17 Roy Nissany Campos Vexatec Racing 1:43.975 22
18 Sean Gelael PERTAMINA PREMA Theodore Racing 1:44.051 20
19 Roberto Merhi MP Motorsport 1:44.625 28
20 Nirei Fukuzumi BWT Arden 1:44.778 12

FIA Formula 2 Bahrain Test – Day 3 Afternoon Session

Driver Team Laptime Laps
1 Nirei Fukuzumi BWT Arden 1:43.430 35
2 Maximilian Gunther BWT Arden 1:44.145 35
3 Antonio Fuoco Charouz Racing System 1:44.152 39
4 Sergio Sette Camara Carlin 1:45.310 21
5 Artem Markelov RUSSIAN TIME 1:46.895 46
6 Roberto Merhi MP Motorsport 1:46.908 45
7 Lando Norris Carlin 1:46.937 24
8 George Russell ART Grand Prix 1:47.860 58
9 Tadasuke Makino RUSSIAN TIME 1:47.239 34
10 Sean Gelael PERTAMINA PREMA Theodore Racing 1:47.419 45
11 Alexander Albon DAMS 1:48.110 48
12 Ralph Boschung MP Motorsport 1:48.412 24
13 Santino Ferrucci Trident 1:48.454 43
14 Roy Nissany Campos Vexatec Racing 1:48.469 28
15 Jack Aitken ART Grand Prix 1:48.600 53
16 Luca Ghiotto Campos Vexatec Racing 1:48.759 56
17 Nicholas Latifi DAMS 1:48.776 34
18 Nyck de Vries PERTAMINA PREMA Theodore Racing 1:48.857 29
19 Louis Deletraz Charouz Racing System 1:49.013 41
20 Arjun Maini Trident 1:49.327 33

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