Vandoorne flies to fourth consecutive pole

Belgian closes gap to Nasr to 4 points

Vandoorne flies to fourth consecutive pole
Felipe Nasr, Carlin
Stephane Richelmi, DAMS
Felipe Nasr, Carlin
Felipe Nasr, Carlin
Mitch Evans, RT RUSSIAN TIME
Mitch Evans, RT RUSSIAN TIME
Stoffel Vandoorne, ART Grand Prix
Stoffel Vandoorne, ART Grand Prix
Stephane Richelmi
Mitch Evans

McLaren reserve driver Stoffel Vandoorne continued his astonishing run of pole positions by claiming the top spot under lights this evening at the Yas Marina, snuffing out his rivals’ best efforts with a stunning lap late in qualifying to take the points ahead of GP2 Series champion Jolyon Palmer and DAMS teammate Stéphane Richelmi.

The Belgian’s best lap of 1:48.088, set with just three minutes remaining in the session, gave him pole by less than a tenth, his fourth in a row as he has closed in on second-placed Felipe Nasr: with the Sauber-bound driver unable to match Vandoorne’s speed, he closed the gap between them in the battle for vice-champion status to just four points.

The entire field were straight out on track when the lights turned green, with Nasr setting the first competitive time but soon overtaken by Richelmi, Vandoorne and then Palmer: it looked as though the super softs were done until Vandoorne snuck inside the Briton’s time just on the ten minute mark as the teams were calling their charges home, giving the entire pitlane something to think about.

And think they did: all of the front runners were soon out and setting identical first sector times, but with so many cars on track something had to give. Most of the drivers struggled in the second sector as Palmer improved and took provisional pole, but he held it for less than 30 seconds as Vandoorne sliced by for the top spot.

Behind the top three there were stories to tell: Mitch Evans improved late to take P4, with Nasr also improving but unable to fight for pole. Pierre Gasly brought home his best qualifying result, while Arthur Pic struggled with traffic for P7, ahead of Raffaele Marciello (who will lose five grid positions following a penalty picked in Sochi last month), Stefano Coletti and Rio Haryanto. With plenty left to fight for, tomorrow’s race should be as hot as the conditions.

Yas Marina – Qualifying Session

 
Driver
Team
Laptime
Laps
1.
Stoffel Vandoorne
ART Grand Prix
1:48.088
11
2.
Jolyon Palmer
DAMS
1:48.187
10
3.
Stéphane Richelmi
DAMS
1:48.374
11
4.
Mitch Evans
RT RUSSIAN TIME
1:48.709
11
5.
Felipe Nasr
Carlin
1:48.873
11
6.
Pierre Gasly
Caterham Racing
1:48.973
12
7.
Arthur Pic
Campos Racing
1:48.985
10
8.
Raffaele Marciello
Racing Engineering
1:49.023
11
9.
Stefano Coletti
Racing Engineering
1:49.326
11
10.
Rio Haryanto
Caterham Racing
1:49.338
11
11.
Julian Leal
Carlin
1:49.395
11
12.
Johnny Cecotto
Trident
1:49.430
12
13.
Takuya Izawa
ART Grand Prix
1:49.500
11
14.
Sergio Canamasas
Trident
1:49.505
12
15.
Nathanaël Berthon
Venezuela GP Lazarus
1:49.518
11
16.
Kimiya Sato
Campos Racing
1:49.618
10
17.
Daniel De Jong
MP Motorsport
1:49.667
10
18.
Nicholas Latifi
Hilmer Motorsport
1:49.676
11
19
André Negrao
Arden International
1:49.677
11
20.
Conor Daly
Venezuela GP Lazarus
1:49.721
11
21.
Rene Binder
Arden International
1:49.721
11
22.
Marco Sorensen
MP Motorsport
1:49.736
11
23.
Simon Trummer
Rapax
1:49.794
12
24.
Jon Lancaster
Hilmer Motorsport
1:49.885
11
25.
Kevin Giovesi
Rapax
1:50.012
14
26.
Artem Markelov
RT RUSSIAN TIME
1:50.414
10
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