Lotus ART dominate in Belgium
James Calado took his first GP3 pole position for Lotus ART after an epic battle for pole position at Spa-Francorchamps today. The British driver finished just 0.088 seconds ahead of his teammate and Series leader Valtteri Bottas proving that the reigning champions are still the team to beat this season.
Heavy rain overnight meant the drivers faced difficult conditions for this morning’s qualifying. The weather is notoriously changeable at the Belgium track, and in the end it came down to which team had the best tyre strategy. The track was damp but drying when the lights turned green, and the field headed out on track on wet weather tyres.
As the drivers got to grips with the notoriously tricky track the first half of the session was a battle between Series front-runners Alexander Sims, Adrian Quaife-Hobbs and Bottas with the three drivers swapping quickest lap times as the track dried and times started to tumble.
With ten minutes left the session came alive. Lotus ART was the first team to take a weather gamble and switch their drivers to slick tyres. As the lead of the timesheet continued to change Bottas was nine seconds off the pace on slicks, and it started to look like the team had been too eager to switch tyres. With the chequered flag in sight it was impossible to tell which tyre choice would pay off, but with three minutes to go Calado grabbed the top spot on slicks by 1.447 seconds. As the rest of the field crossed the line they were unable to match the Brits rapid time. Bottas settled for second ahead of Melker who briefly held the top spot, Antonio Felix Da Costa and Quaife-Hobbs.
Status Grand Prix’s Alexander Sims was a casualty of the conditions and will start from seventeenth after just missing out on a flying lap on his new slick tyres.
GP3 Series will be back on track this afternoon for Race 1 of the weekend at 17:20 local time.
|1||3||J. CALADO||Lotus ART||2:20.146||12|
|2||2||V. BOTTAS||Lotus ART||2:20.234||13||0.088|
|3||31||N. MELKER||RSC Mucke Motorsport||2:21.315||12||1.169|
|4||5||A. FELIX DA COSTA||Status Grand Prix||2:22.359||13||2.213|
|5||10||A. QUAIFE-HOBBS||Marussia Manor Racing||2:22.689||12||2.543|
|6||21||N. YELLOLY||Atech CRS GP||2:22.818||12||2.672|
|8||23||T. DILLMANN||Addax Team||2:23.088||12||2.942|
|9||7||N. MULLER||Jenzer Motorsport||2:23.256||12||3.110|
|10||28||L. WILLIAMSON||MW Arden||2:23.272||13||3.126|
|11||26||M. EVANS||MW Arden||2:23.439||13||3.293|
|12||30||M. CHRISTENSEN||RSC Mucke Motorsport||2:23.693||12||3.547|
|13||6||I. LUKASHEVICH||Status Grand Prix||2:23.772||13||3.626|
|14||17||A. VAINIO||Tech 1 Racing||2:24.106||12||3.960|
|15||9||A. FONTANA||Jenzer Motorsport||2:24.300||13||4.154|
|16||20||M. STOCKINGER||Atech CRS GP||2:24.651||12||4.505|
|17||4||A. SIMS||Status Grand Prix||2:24.774||12||4.628|
|18||1||R. STANAWAY||Lotus ART||2:24.911||12||4.765|
|20||11||R. HARYANTO||Marussia Manor Racing||2:25.496||12||5.350|
|21||8||M. ZIMIN||Jenzer Motorsport||2:25.560||13||5.414|
|22||29||D. MANCINELLI||RSC Mucke Motorsport||2:25.857||12||5.711|
|23||27||S. TRUMMER||MW Arden||2:26.284||13||6.138|
|24||22||Z. AMBERG||Atech CRS GP||2:26.917||12||6.771|
|25||25||D. SMITH||Addax Team||2:26.952||12||6.850|
|26||12||M. LAINE||Marussia Manor Racing||2:27.996||12||7.850|
|27||18||T. HYLKEMA||Tech 1 Racing||2:28.115||13||7.969|
|28||19||T. PAL KISS||Tech 1 Racing||2:28.738||12||8.592|
|29||24||G. CHAVES||Addax Team||2:29.743||9||9.597|