Russia’s Robert Shwartzman (Prema Racing) has already shown, in Formula 2 free practice Thursday morning, that his experience could prove useful this weekend in Monaco, where three races are scheduled on the F2 agenda. Last year, he finished 4th of the series, with 4 wins, which was an impressive result for a rookie. The year before, he was crowned FIA F3 Champion, for his first and only season in the category.
With a fastest lap in 1 :22.041, the St Petersbourg native was half a second faster than Britain’s Dan Ticktum (Carlin), followed on the timesheet of this session by another Russian driver, the very promising Juri Vips (Hitech GP). One of their compatriots, Gianluca Petecof (Campos), had a major issue when his engine blew up at Sainte-Dévote, producing a huge smoke cloud when he tried to continue driving towards the Casino. He then stopped his car in a safe place, surrounded by ACM marshals who proved very efficient, as always.
The Orange army is famous in the whole world of motorsport and had to act several times Thursday morning, always with total commitment and efficiency, in order to take care of single-seaters in deep trouble. The Chinese leader of the series, Guanyu Zhou (Uni-Virtuosi), had to be happy with the 9th time of the session, almost one and a half second slower than Shwartzman. Not very encouraging for him before qualifying scheduled for today, between 1 :20 and 2 :00, for two groups of 11 cars.