Sakhir, Qual.: Stoffel Vandoorne takes fifth consecutive GP2 pole
Belgian ace leads ART Grand Prix front row in Bahrain
McLaren F1 test driver Stoffel Vandoorne started his 2015 campaign the way he finished his previous one by putting his ART car on pole position in tonight’s qualifying session at Bahrain International Circuit. The Belgian ace clocked a laptime of 1:39.237, three tenths better than teammate and Honda protégé Nobuharu Matsushita making it an ART front row. 2014 GP3 Series Champion and Williams F1 development driver Alex Lynn finished third.
The night-time qualifying session opened in much cooler conditions compared to the earlier free practice. All drivers fed onto the track on their Pirelli Soft tyres and Vandoorne wasted no time: on his first flying lap, he recorded a laptime of 1:39.493, one tenth quicker than Arthur Pic and two tenths faster than Jordan King.
With ten minutes left in the session and after everyone came back into the pits for some fresh rubbers, Lynn seemed to be on a mission and moved up from ninth to second. But Vandoorne was not done yet and found some extra pace, lighting sectors one and two in purple and crossing the start/finish line three tenths clear from his closest rival who happened to be teammate Matsushita. The Japanese rookie found a clean lap and set a laptime of 1:39.545, claiming P2 and a front row start on his GP2 debut.
At the chequered flag, Vandoorne enjoyed a fifth consecutive GP2 pole proving if need be that he will be the man to beat tomorrow. Behind Matsushita and Lynn, Pic was unable to improve on his first stint’s best laptime and had to settle for fourth ahead of Raffaele Marciello. The Italian was able to put his Trident in P5 on his final attempt after his first qualifying laps was compromised by mechanical gremlins. King, Norman Nato, Alexander Rossi, Pierre Gasly and Sergey Sirotkin completed the top ten.
|1.||Stoffel Vandoorne||ART Grand Prix||1:39.237||11|
|2.||Nobuharu Matsushita||ART Grand Prix||1:39.545||11|
|4.||Arthur Pic||Campos Racing||1:39.630||11|
|6.||Jordan King||Racing Engineering||1:39.770||11|
|7.||Norman Nato||Arden International||1:39.857||11|
|8.||Alexander Rossi||Racing Engineering||1:39.872||12|
|11.||Artem Markelov||RUSSIAN TIME||1:39.955||11|
|12.||Rio Haryanto||Campos Racing||1:39.961||10|
|13.||Mitch Evans||RUSSIAN TIME||1:39.999||11|
|15.||Richie Stanaway||Status Grand Prix||1:40.251||11|
|17.||Sergio Canamasas||MP Motorsport||1:40.434||12|
|19.||André Negrao||Arden International||1:40.634||11|
|20.||Daniel De Jong||MP Motorsport||1:40.653||11|
|21.||Nathanaël Berthon||Racing Engineering||1:40.654||11|
|23.||Marlon Stockinger||Status Grand Prix||1:40.995||11|