GP2 LogoVenezuelan quickest in close qualifying session

Johnny Cecotto has given Trident their second ever GP2 pole position thanks to a laptime of 1:15.312 set in this afternoon’s qualifying session at the Red Bull Ring. The Venezuelan came out on top of a close session with Jolyon Palmer and Felipe Nasr a hairsbreadth from him and the twenty-six cars separated by only 1.3s.

The track conditions were blustery as the pitlane opened, but the laptimes tumbled down rapidly as the drivers feared the grey skies would open and ruin their chances to set a time. Stoffel Vandoorne topped the timesheet early into the session, but Cecotto was firmly set on taking today’s pole position and he lapped the track under 1m16s.

Series leader Jolyon Palmer went quickest, but it would not be enough: Cecotto found some extra pace and improved on the Briton’s laptime by one tenth. With twenty minutes left of the clock, it was everybody’s mission to go faster than 1:15.312. Palmer tried his mightiest but failed for a shy 0.04s.

After the drivers returned to the pits for a fresh set of Soft Pirelli tyres, the action lit up again for a final shoot out. Rookie Raffaele Marciello was able to move up to third, but his teammate Stefano Coletti did better. In the dying minutes, Nasr who pushed hard all session long was eventually able to find a clear lap. Nevertheless, his final attempt saw him finish third – 0.006s slower than Palmer.

Behind the top three, the Racing Engineering pair ended fourth and fifth, Coletti ahead of Marciello. Vandoorne, Arthur Pic, Mitch Evans, Alexander Rossi and Stéphane Richelmi rounded up the top ten.

Spielberg – Qualifying Session
Driver Team Laptime Laps
1. Johnny Cecotto Trident 1:15.312 17
2. Jolyon Palmer DAMS 1:15.352 15
3. Felipe Nasr Carlin 1:15.358 18
4. Stefano Coletti Racing Engineering 1:15.443 17
5. Raffaele Marciello Racing Engineering 1:15.449 18
6. Stoffel Vandoorne ART Grand Prix 1:15.481 17
7. Arthur Pic Campos Racing 1:15.608 17
8. Mitch Evans RT RUSSIAN TIME 1:15.614 17
9. Alexander Rossi EQ8 Caterham Racing 1:15.644 17
10. Stéphane Richelmi DAMS 1:15.664 16
11. André Negrao Arden International 1:15.773 16
12. Julian Leal Carlin 1:15.784 16
13. Rio Haryanto EQ8 Caterham Racing 1:15.811 16
14. Adrian Quaife-Hobbs Rapax 1:15.927 16
15. Tio Ellinas MP Motorsport 1:15.964 15
16. Sergio Canamasas Trident 1:16.034 16
17. Takuya Izawa ART Grand Prix 1:16.092 17
18. Artem Markelov RT RUSSIAN TIME 1:16.136 17
19 Daniel Abt Hilmer Motorsport 1:16.246 19
20. Kimiya Sato Campos Racing 1:16.274 17
21. Rene Binder Arden International 1:16.331 17
22. Daniiel De Jong MP Motorsport 1:16.334 14
23. Facu Regalia Hilmer Motorsport 1:16.497 18
24. Simon Trummer Rapax 1:16.531 17
25. Conor Daly Venezuela GP Lazarus 1:16.539 14
26. Nathanaël Berthon Venezuela GP Lazarus 1:16.654 16