GP2 logoBriton bags second top spot of season

Sam Bird has picked up in Monza where he left off in Spa, claiming his second consecutive pole position in a dramatic qualifying session this afternoon where all of the championship contenders were in the mix right up to the end, as the Briton grabbed the top spot by just 0.034 seconds from Fabio Leimer and Jolyon Palmer.

In a session which saw temperatures soar from the already hot practice period, Bird set his best time of 1:31.788 with just five minutes remaining in a session which was already full of action, setting the cat among the pigeons as his rivals pushed up to, and in some cases over, the limit to steal a march on each other for tomorrow’s race.

Everyone was immediately on track as the lights went green, with series leader Stefano Coletti setting the early pace after picking up a great tow from rival James Calado, setting a target which was soon blasted down by Julian Leal, Stéphane Richelmi, Leimer and Palmer. But two big spins at the parabolica by Sergio Canamasas and Vittorio Ghirelli left gravel all over the track, prompting a red flag period to clean up the mess.

If anyone thought that the timesheets were set, they were soon put to rights when the track went live again as Leimer cut a tenth out of the top time, with Bird soon cutting it even further. The number of championship contenders who cut the first chicane showed just how hard they were pushing, but Palmer was the only man to actually improve his time, albeit missing his target by a fraction.

Behind the top three are Marcus Ericsson, Tom Dillmann, Coletti, Dani Clos, Calado, Jake Rosenzweig and Simon Trummer, all of whom will be thinking ‘what if?’ after a session full of promise: with 22 drivers within a second, tomorrow’s feature race offers an excellent opportunity for them to move back up to where they feel they should be today.

Monza – Qualifying Session

Driver Team Laptime Laps
1. Sam Bird RUSSIAN TIME 1:31.788

12

2. Fabio Leimer Racing Engineering 1:31.822

14

3. Jolyon Palmer Carlin 1:31.843

13

4. Marcus Ericsson DAMS 1:31.915

14

5. Tom Dillmann RUSSIAN TIME 1:31.948

10

6. Stefano Coletti Rapax 1:31.993

15

7. Dani Clos MP Motorsport 1:32.024

11

8. James Calado ART Grand Prix 1:32.033

12

9. Jake Rosenzweig Barwa Addax Tean 1:32.100

12

10. Simon Trummer Rapax 1:32.164

12

11. Stéphane Richelmi DAMS 1:32.168

12

12. Felipe Nasr Carlin 1:32.381

13

13. Rio Haryanto Barwa Addax Team 1:32.384

13

14. Julian Leal Racing Engineering 1:32.398

15

15. Alexander Rossi EQ8 Caterham Racing 1:32.447

14

16. Adrian Quaife-Hobbs Hilmer Motorsport 1:32.462

13

17. Mitch Evans Arden International 1:32.481

12

18. Jon Lancaster Hilmer Motorsport 1:32.482

13

19 Nathanaël Berthon Trident Racing 1:32.554

13

20. Daniel Abt ART Grand Prix 1:32.627

12

21. Johnny Cecotto Arden International 1:32.650

12

22. Daniel De Jong MP Motorsport 1:32.751

10

23. Sergio Campana Trident Racing 1:33.195

14

24. Rene Binder Venezuela GP Lazarus 1:33.292

14

25. Vittorio Ghirelli Venezuela GP Lazarus 1:33.405

5

26. Sergio Canamasas EQ8 Caterham Racing 1:34.963

3