Monza, Qual.: Gasly scorches to Monza pole
Frenchman dominates for third 2016 pole
Pierre Gasly continued his winning ways by claiming his third pole of the season in this afternoon’s Qualifying session in Monza, leading the way for most of the period to grab the top spot despite late charges by PREMA Racing teammate Antonio Giovinazzi and Artem Markelov.
The Red Bull tester stopped the clocks at 1:31.199 with five minutes remaining, but had already set the pace for much of a session which saw the already hot conditions run even hotter as the lights went green, allowing the field out onto the fabled circuit. Oliver Rowland led his rivals onto the track, as usual, and was the first man to set a competitive laptime, but it was soon bettered as Gasly crossed the line behind him.
The fightback happened immediately as Rowland, Giovinazzi, Nicholas Latifi and Mitch Evans all found more time to close the gap, but Gasly broke their spirits by improving on his own time at the 10 minute mark, just as the field was heading back to the pits. Despite this the top ten was split by just half a second, and with half the session remaining there was more action to come.
Raffaele Marciello tried to find something extra as he ran around his home track alone, but to no avail: when his rivals returned Gasly went yet faster (as did Markelov, for P2) before saving his tyres for one last shot, if needed. In the last minute of qualifying Arthur Pic, Giovinazzi and Gasly were on a charge, with the Italian moving up one spot to round out an all PREMA front row, while Pic grabbed P4 ahead of Evans, Jordan King, Alex Lynn, Nabil Jeffri (with another last minute charge), Sergey Sirotkin and Norman Nato. With 17 drivers within a second of pole, expect more fireworks in tomorrow afternoon’s Feature Race.
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