Stéphane Richelmi shrugged off the scorching conditions to bring home pole position for tomorrow’s feature race with a storming lap in this afternoon’s qualifying session in Barcelona, leaving his rivals in his dust as he claimed the top spot from teammate Jolyon Palmer and Stefano Coletti.
The track temperature soared to 47 degrees as the pit lights turned green, with Alexander Rossi leading the field onto the circuit and consequently setting the first target time. Unfortunately for the American his time lasted less than a minute, when Richelmi blasted past the pits to stop the clock at 1:29.293 for a time which was not to be bettered.
But it was not for want of trying: Palmer crossed the line just a tenth off his teammate, but with tyres past their best in the extreme heat everyone retired for new rubber, other than the ART pair who were repeating their Bahrain habit of going out when their rivals came in.
On fresh tyres there were improvements to be had, as shown by Coletti’s improvement in the closing minutes, but a small mistake by Palmer saw his teammate hold on for pole. Behind the top three was Raffaele Marciello, Felipe Nasr, Mitch Evans, Julian Leal, Rossi, Tio Ellinas and Stoffel Vandoorne, all of whom were within a second of pole and could expect more in tomorrow’s feature event.
Barcelona – Qualifying Session
Driver Team Laptime Laps
1. Stéphane Richelmi DAMS 1:29.293 10
2. Jolyon Palmer DAMS 1:29.421 9
3. Stefano Coletti Racing Engineering 1:29.514 10
4. Raffaele Marciello Racing Engineering 1:29.650 10
5. Felipe Nasr Carlin 1:29.698 11
6. Mitch Evans RT RUSSIAN TIME 1:29.703 9
7. Julian Leal Carlin 1:29.841 11
8. Alexander Rossi EQ8 Caterham Racing 1:29.893 11
9. Tio Ellinas MP Motorsport 1:29.902 11
10. Stoffel Vandoorne ART Grand Prix 1:29.963 11
11. Rio Haryanto EQ8 Caterham Racing 1:29.983 11
12. Tom Dillmann Arden International 1:30.289 10
13. Arthur Pic Campos Racing 1:30.300 11
14. Daniel Abt Hilmer Motorsport 1:30.412 11
15. Nathanaël Berthon Venezuela GP Lazarus 1:30.470 9
16. Johnny Cecotto Trident 1:30.496 11
17. Kimiya Sato Campos Racing 1:30.510 11
18. Rene Binder Arden International 1:30.553 11
19 Daniiel De Jong MP Motorsport 1:30.617 9
20. Sergio Canamasas Trident 1:30.737 11
21. Facu Regalia Hilmer Motorsport 1:30.790 11
22. Adrian Quaife-Hobbs Rapax 1:30.884 11
23. Takuya Izawa ART Grand Prix 1:30.903 11
24. Simon Trummer Rapax 1:30.923 13
25. Artem Markelov RT RUSSIAN TIME 1:31.336 12
26. Conor Daly Venezuela GP Lazarus 1:31.558 9