The PERTAMINA PREMA Theodore Racing team secured fourth place with Nyck De Vries in the opening qualifying session of the FIA Formula 2 season at the Al Sakhir Circuit in Bahrain.
The quick Dutchman, of the McLaren Young Driver Programme, aimed to save as much rubber as possible at the beginning of the session, as it will turn out to be a crucial aspect for the rest of the weekend. Nonetheless, with his last set of Option tires, he went out on-track late and vaulted to P4 as the checkered flag fell to complete the day’s schedule.
On the other hand, Sean Gelael had a tough start of the season as he was stopped in the pit-lane for most of the time while the team tried to iron out a car-related electronic issue. After joining the field in the final part of the session, the Indonesian eventually ended up in P19 with the least amount of laps completed. The brand-new turbocharged Dallara racecars will be back on-track for race 1 tomorrow at 13:10 local time.
Sean Gelael, #3,
Qualifying: P19 Fastest lap: 1’43″016
“We had an unfortunate electronic issue. In the end, it was just the steering wheel, but it took the guys a lot of effort to diagnose the problem. Then at the end, we only had one lap and there was traffic as well. We are confident for tomorrow: it’s not how many times you fall, it’s how many times you rise back up and it’s something we in Prema intend to do tomorrow.”
Nyck De Vries, #4
Qualifying: P4 Fastest lap: 1’41″880
“To be honest, I’m a little bit disappointed with P4 in the end, because if we look at our overall performance I think there is a lot of room for improvement, especially in sector 1. Nevertheless, we’re in top-5 and we’re there to fight for the race tomorrow. There is a lot more potential.”