Formula 2’s practice session gave us a first look at a slightly modified Jeddah Corniche Circuit, with changes made to improve safety and racing.
Jeddah debutant Victor Martins set the early pace with a 1:46.411 but the second lap times quickly saw that change as drivers began to push.
Bahrain Sprint Race winner Ralph Boschung enjoyed a short stint atop the timing charts until Victor Martins reclaimed the top spot, improving repeatedly.
At the halfway point in the session, Martins had established himself as the clear pacesetter in the field. His best lap time of 1:43.739 saw him half a second clear of second-place Dennis Hauger.
A snap at the tightened Turn 22 and 23 chicane saw Arthur Leclerc take to the extended run-off area. A mistake that surely would have ended his running last year.
Ollie Bearman managed to jump to the top of the timesheets ahead of teammate Frederik Vesti. Prema are looking to improve on a disappointing weekend last time out in Bahrain which saw both cars struggle with degradation.
A spin for Amaury Cordeel brought out a red flag with 5 minutes left on the clock. A tap on the wall sent the car into a spin that stranded the Virtuosi in the middle of the track.
The session would not restart leaving the Prema duo fastest in the session. Victor Martins finished third, showing some impressive pace throughout practice. Kush Maini and Dennis Hauger rounded out the top five.
Championship leader Theo Pourhcaire had a quiet session finishing in seventeenth place. The Frenchman had a difficult weekend in Jeddah last season and will need to find some pace in order to prevent a repeat in 2023.
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