Ilott on Pole at Team's Home Race, Zhou Robbed of Late Gains
Callum Ilott maintained his 100% record of qualifying in the top three this season with pole position in FIA Formula 2’s second visit to Silverstone, while Guanyu Zhou suffered bad luck with late yellow flags.
With the help of the team, Ilott made adjustments in practice to help acclimatise to the car at the Norfolk squad’s home race, but the early part of qualifying did not go to plan as Ilott lay outside of the top 10 after the first runs of the session.
However, in the mid-session break used to change tyres, Ilott consulted with the team and more changes were made, as he surged to the top of the leaderboard on his next lap out of the pits.
Only a few cars could complete a final flying lap as a fellow driver spun in the closing stages, which meant Ilott’s spectacular lap was unbeaten and he moves closer to the championship lead with the four points accrued, now only four behind his closest rival who starts tomorrow’s race 11th.
That points haul also helps UNI-Virtuosi Racing extend its lead at the top of the teams’ championship standings.
Unfortunately, the late yellow flags caught out the team’s other driver, Renault Formula 1 test and development ace Guanyu Zhou.
The Chinese driver had set the fastest first sector time of anyone on his final flying lap, but as per the rules he had to slow down as he reached the yellow flags in sector two.
He will still start sixth on the grid when the second consecutive weekend of racing gets underway at Silverstone at 1545hrs local time on Saturday.
"It was a pretty frustrating qualifying session from my side. "First set of tyres, made some mistakes but we improved the car. And then the second set, the first lap the tyres weren’t fully ready and I knew I’d have time for a second lap, a second chance. "In the first sector, went purple, by 0.2s compared to my previous lap. Unfortunately, caught the yellow flag, backed off, and then going into the last sector I had four cars in front slowing down on the racing line. It wasn’t ideal. "Still did a lap time similar to my fastest lap but without the traffic and the yellow flag it would have quite easily been front row. Anyway that’s how it is. We have good pace for the race."
"Practice wasn't great, I had to make a few changes after that as I didn't really feel that comfortable.
"We went into qualifying and the first run was quite difficult, I was really on the edge and we may have had a small issue.
"The next run we changed the car a tiny bit and improved, it was mega afterwards. Really happy with the work we were able to do as a team to improve the car and its paid off with pole."
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