Callum Ilott was once again the man to beat in Formula 2 qualifying as he claimed his fifth pole position of the season.

Ilott’s pole in Bahrain means he closes the gap to championship leader Mick Schumacher to 18 points, with four points behind handed to the polesitter in F2.

Schumacher struggled for pace throughout qualifying and is set to start tomorrow’s feature race from tenth on the grid.

It wasn’t plain sailing for the other championship hopefuls with Yuki Tsunoda set to start from the back of the grid having spun his Carlin at Turn 12 resulting in the first red flag period.

Tsunoda had been on course to move into second place behind Ilott but carried too much speed Turn 12, eventually spinning off at Turn 13.

The Japanese driver was unable to get his Carlin car going again and will be forced to start from 22nd on the grid.

Once Tsunoda’s car was cleared, the order didn’t change too much as the wind picked up.

Ilott’s time remained untouched, while Felipe Drugovich got within 0.4s of the Ferrari junior to qualify second.

Dan Ticktum will start third ahead of Marcus Armstrong and Guanyu Zhou.

Giuliano Alesi enjoyed one of his finest performances of the season in sixth place but caused the second red flag of the session as he ground to a halt at Turn 1 in the dying few minutes.

Nikita Mazepin will start from seventh and has an outside shot of the title, trailing Schumacher by 51 points going into this weekend’s event.

Jehan Daruvala and Christian Lundgaard will line up just ahead of Schumacher in eighth and ninth place.