George Russell nabbed pole position in a wet/dry qualifying session at the Spa-Francorchamps circuit, grabbing the top spot late in a tricky session which saw little rain but ran on a wet circuit throughout, to finish almost three tenths ahead of teammate Nirei Fukuzumi and Arjun Maini.
The Briton stopped the clocks on 2m27.042s with 3 minutes remaining in a session which was drying late, but not quite enough to switch to slicks: as a result his rivals had little left in their tires to push ahead in the closing minutes.
The track opened to warm but damp conditions, with most of a previous rain storm blowing over as all of the field emerged on track as the lights went green. The times were soon tumbling as Alessio Lorandi, Jack Aitken, Dorian Boccolacci and Russell ran quicker each time around to top the timesheets, with the Mercedes F1 junior driver going purple on the first 2 sectors before following his rivals into the pits for fresh rubber at the halfway mark.
Lorandi, Steijn Schothorst and Boccolacci were all improving, swapping P2 between themselves behind Russell, until Maini grabbed the top spot with 4 minutes remaining: unfortunately for the Haas junior driver first Russell and then Fukuzumi improved on his time as the clock wound down, setting up another ART front row for tomorrow’s Race 1.
Aitken will be disappointed to finish just outside of the top 3, ahead of an impressive lap from Matthieu Vaxivière, Boccolacci, Ryan Tveter and Schothorst, all of whom will be looking for better luck with the weather to try and peg back some of the gap up to Russell tomorrow.