Fabio Leimer (Racing Engineering)

Swiss driver dominates wet qualifying

Fabio Leimer has decimated his rivals with an untouchable string of laps in this afternoon’s qualifying session in Silverstone that put him almost a full second ahead of his closest competitors Johnny Cecotto and local driver Jolyon Palmer to claim an easy pole position for tomorrow’s feature race.

The Swiss driver stopped the clock at 2:01.889 in cold, wet conditions, with temperatures dropping further from the earlier lows in free practice this morning. Leimer set the running for almost the whole session, with his rivals seemingly unable to do anything about his pace in the treacherous conditions.

Series leader Davide Valsecchi was the first man on track, hopeful of taking advantage of a clear track in the session which promised to be one of the most difficult in recent memory, and duly set the running next time around. But Leimer cut 2 seconds out of the Italian’s time to be the first man into the 2:07s, and although Valsecchi sneaked ahead on his next lap, it was the Swiss driver who was to set a string of fastest laps from then on, seemingly in competition only with himself.

The rest of the field were determined to provide some competition, but each time they closed a little on his times it seemed to spur Leimer into an even faster lap. This continued until the 20 minute mark, when Marcus Ericsson and Johnny Cecotto slowed and stopped on circuit, prompting the red flags to make a first appearance in the session. The Venezuelan was pushed from the pitlane entrance back into the pits and was accordingly able to take the re-start.

With ten minutes remaining there was little to lose, but although the rain seemed to ease slightly it was hardly optimal conditions for lap times. A number of drivers slowed and stopped in the closing minutes, possibly having run out of fuel in the awkward conditions, but happily managed to roll off the circuit to avoid anything other than local yellows.

With one minute to go Palmer found enough for P3, with Cecotto improving his best time just after that to hold on to 2nd place, but both drivers were still almost a second off Leimer’s pace, although they displaced Stefano Coletti, Esteban Gutiérrez, James Calado, Rio Haryanto, Max Chilton, Luiz Razia and Giedo van der Garde in the process, setting up an interesting set of duels for tomorrow’s feature race.

Silverstone – Qualifying Session

Driver Team Laptime Laps
1. Fabio Leimer Racing Engineering 2:01.889

13

2. Johnny Cecotto Barwa Addax Team 2:02.804

13

3. Jolyon Palmer iSport International 2:02.872

14

4. Stefano Coletti Scuderia Coloni 2:03.004

13

5. Esteban Gutiérrez Lotus GP 2:03.258

13

6. James Calado Lotus GP 2:03.274

13

7. Rio Haryanto Carlin 2:03.398

13

8. Max Chilton Carlin 2:03.423

12

9. Luiz Razia Arden International 2:03.553

13

10. Giedo van der Garde Caterham Racing 2:03.565

12

11. Felipe Nasr DAMS 2:03.581

13

12. Davide Valsecchi DAMS 2:03.660

9

13. Nigel Melker Ocean Racing Technology 2:03.699

12

14. Josef Kral Barwa Addax Team 2:04.029

13

15. Nathanaël Berthon Racing Engineering 2:04.140

13

16. Fabrizio Crestani Venezuela GP Lazarus 2:04.280

14

17. Rodolfo Gonzalez Caterham Racing 2:04.430

13

18. Marcus Ericsson iSport International 2:04.767

8

19 Daniel De Jong Rapax 2:04.782

13

20. Victor Guerin Ocean Racing Technology 2:05.040

13

21. Julian Leal Trident Racing 2:05.218

13

22. Fabio Onidi Scuderia Coloni 2:05.350

13

23. Simon Trummer Arden International 2:05.573

13

24. Stéphane Richelmi Trident Racing 2:05.677

12

25. Ricardo Teixeira Rapax 2:07.231

13

26. Giancarlo Serenelli Venezuela GP Lazarus 2:09.161

10