Frenchman heads washed out session
Jules Bianchi claimed pole position for tomorrow’s feature race in Silverstone after setting the fastest lap early in this afternoon’s qualifying session before a torrential downpour brought an early end to the fight for the top spot: the Frenchman was just ahead of Alvaro Parente and Romain Grosjean on the timesheets.
The Frenchman’s best lap of 1:58.531 was set on his second flying lap, with Parente crossing the line four tenths slower a few moments later. Bianchi and Grosjean were clearly on the pace immediately: the pair were swapping fastest sector times on their first flying lap, but Bianchi upped the ante next time round to give his rivals a new target.
Unfortunately for them, however, the heavens opened almost immediately after he finished the lap: the rain was so heavy that there was no option but to limp back to the pits anyway they could, and to wait. Eventually the rain stopped, but the standing water on the track meant there was no chance of setting a competitive time: Fabio Leimer had to try, as he had yet to set a time, but the water meant he was 23 seconds off the pace.
But considering the conditions, the Swiss driver will be almost certain to be allowed onto the grid tomorrow, which puts him ahead of one of his rivals: Kevin Mirocha was unable to start the session due to a pre-existing shoulder injury, and will take no further part in the weekend after testing it this morning in free practice.
Behind the top three drivers were Christian Vietoris, Dani Clos, Max Chilton, Marcus Ericsson, Esteban Gutierrez, Sam Bird and Charles Pic, although Grosjean will take the start tomorrow from P13 due to his penalty from Valencia. All of the drivers, though, will be hoping for better conditions tomorrow to show their true potential.
Silverstone – Qualifying
Driver Team Laptime Laps
1. Jules Bianchi Lotus ART 1:58.531 5
2. Alvaro Parente Carlin 1:58.971 5
3. Romain Grosjean Dams 1:59.020 7
4. Christian Vietoris Racing Engineering 1:59.143 5
5. Dani Clos Racing Engineering 1:59.881 5
6. Max Chilton Carlin 1:59.952 5
7. Marcus Ericsson iSport International 2:00.044 6
8. Esteban Gutierrez Lotus ART 2:00.109 5
9. Sam Bird iSport International 2:00.175 5
10. Charles Pic Barwa Addax Team 2:00.223 4
11. Johnny Cecotto Ocean Racing Engineering 2:00.300 9
12. Jolyon Palmer Arden International 2:00.462 9
13. Davide Valsecchi Caterham Team AirAsia 2:00.527 9
14. Michael Herck Scuderia Coloni 2:00.529 5
15. Julian Leal Rapax 2:00.927 7
16. Pal Varhaug Dams 2:01.203 10
17. Luca Filippi Super Nova Racing 2:01.315 8
18. Kevin Ceccon Scuderia Coloni 2:01.816 7
19 Giedo van der Garde Barwa Addax Team 2:01.894 6
20. Luiz Razia Caterham Team AirAsia 2:01.922 10
21. Stefano Coletti Trident Racing 2:02.681 9
22. Josef Kral Arden International 2:02.800 9
23. Rodolfo Gonzalez Trident Racing 2:03.268 10
24. Fairuz Fauzy Super Nova Racing 2:04.518 8
25. Fabio Leimer Rapax 2:08.608 10