Max Chilton (Carlin)

Briton stays on top in qualifying

Max Chilton maintained his Free Practice pace to clinch his second pole position of the season with a late surge in this afternoon’s qualifying session in Monza, storming to the top spot ahead of Giedo van der Garde and Johnny Cecotto.

The Briton’s best time of 1:31.886 was set with just six minutes remaining in the session, and although van der Garde was able to narrow the gap to just 0.067 seconds next time across the finish line, his rivals were unable to push Chilton off pole.

The entire field were straight out on track when the lights went green, with the hot and sunny conditions soon allowing their times to tumble. Cecotto (who loses five places on tomorrow’s starting grid following a penalty picked up last week in Spa), Fabio Leimer and Fabio Onidi all sat briefly on the top of the time sheets before van der Garde staked his claim for pole, settling the best time so far just seven minutes in, and holding on through the pitstops.

With time running out it looked like the Dutchman was going to hold on until Chilton stole the spot and, although van der Garde improved his time next time through, it wasn’t enough to steal it back. And when the Briton later spun at Parabolica, with a minute remaining, the rest of the field had no chance to launch a last attack.

Behind the top three were Luca Filippi and Davide Valsecchi, who were both improving on their last lap until the yellow flags emerged, Marcus Ericsson, Leimer, Onidi, Esteban Gutiérrez and Felipe Nasr, while title rivals Luiz Razia and James Calado were back in P12 and 13 respectively. But with 19 drivers within a second of pole, the fight for tomorrow’s feature race will be as hot as the scorching weather.

Monza – Qualifying Session

Driver Team Laptime Laps
1. Max Chilton Carlin 1:31.886

13

2. Giedo van der Garde Caterham Racing 1:31.953

13

3. Johnny Cecotto Barwa Addax Team 1:32.151

6

4. Luca Filippi Scuderia Coloni 1:32.165

9

5. Davide Valsecchi DAMS 1:32.208

13

6. Marcus Ericsson iSport International 1:32.216

13

7. Fabio Leimer Racing Engineering 1:32.324

13

8. Fabio Onidi Scuderia Coloni 1:32.388

13

9. Esteban Gutiérrez Lotus GP 1:32.396

11

10. Felipe Nasr DAMS 1:32.462

8

11. Rio Haryanto Carlin 1:32.471

14

12. Luiz Razia Arden International 1:32.495

13

13. James Calado Lotus GP 1:32.622

13

14. Nigel Melker Ocean Racing Technology 1:32.625

13

15. Jolyon Palmer iSport International 1:32.659

13

16. Stefano Coletti Rapax 1:32.675

13

17. Nathanaël Berthon Racing Engineering 1:32.769

13

18. Sergio Canamasas Venezuela GP Lazarus 1:32.772

13

19 Simon Trummer Arden International 1:32.889

15

20. Victor Guerin Ocean Racing Technology 1:32.911

14

21. Rene Binder Venezuela GP Lazarus 1:32.967

14

22. Stéphane Richelmi Trident Racing 1:32.969

13

23. Julian Leal Trident Racing 1:32.989

15

24. Jake Rosenzweig Barwa Addax Team 1:33.109

12

25. Rodolfo Gonzalez Caterham Racing 1:33.511

14

26. Ricardo Teixeira Rapax 1:33.719

17