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Series leader Jolyon Palmer has left only crumbs to his rivals in today’s GP2 Series qualifying session. The Briton set a blazing laptime of 1:23.383 in the early stages that would never be bettered. Stoffel Vandoorne and Stefano Coletti completed the top three.

It was scorching hot as the qualifying session opened at the Hockenheimring – the track temperatures recording 58 degrees Celsius. All cars fed onto the track on Pirelli Soft tyres and Johnny Cecotto set the early pace, only to be bettered by Caterham’s Tom Dillmann. Felipe Nasr was the first man to break the 1m24s barrier but was soon edged out of the top spot by Palmer who, on his third lap, was able to clock in the best laptime of the session.

Vandoorne also found some clean air to dip under 1m24s along with Alexander Rossi, but both men were unable to match Palmer’s pace. Ten minutes into the session, this morning’s fastest man Coletti moved up to second but remained three tenths slower than the Briton. All cars returned to the pits for a new set of rubbers and with nine minutes left on the clock the action resumed – except for Palmer and Dillmann who chose to rejoin the track five minutes before the chequered flag.

Traffic intensified on the circuit, but Stéphane Richelmi somehow found a clear gap to be on a flyer in the first two sectors only to see his efforts reduced to nothing with a slow final one. The story was different for Vandoorne who improved in the dying minutes, enough to move up to P2, but not enough to steal pole from Palmer.

At the chequered flag, the Briton enjoyed a third pole position this season ahead of Vandoorne and Coletti. GP2 returnee Dillmann finished fourth ahead of Nasr, Arthur Pic, Cecotto, Raffaele Marciello (who was improving on his final push lap but seemed to be blocked by a slow Takuya Izawa in the last portion of the track), Rossi and Simon Trummer.

Hockenheim – Qualifying session
Driver Team Laptime Laps
1. Jolyon Palmer DAMS 1:23.383 8
2. Stoffel Vandoorne ART Grand Prix 1:23.665 12
3. Stefano Coletti Racing Engineering 1:23.722 12
4. Tom Dillmann EQ8 Caterham Racing 1:23.776 11
5. Felipe Nasr Carlin 1:23.781 12
6. Arthur Pic Campos Racing 1:23.859 12
7. Johnny Cecotto Trident 1:23.860 14
8. Raffaele Marciello Racing Engineering 1:23.918 12
9. Alexander Rossi Campos Racing 1:23.965 13
10. Simon Trummer Rapax 1:23.983 12
11. Stéphane Richelmi DAMS 1:24.024 12
12. Rene Binder Arden International 1:24.094 10
13. Nathanaël Berthon Venezuela GP Lazarus 1:24.253 11
14. Daniel Abt Hilmer Motorsport 1:24.311 12
15. Mitch Evans RT RUSSIAN TIME 1:24.335 11
16. Takuya Izawa ART Grand Prix 1:24.335 11
17. Julian Leal Carlin 1:24.421 11
18. Conor Daly Venezuela GP Lazarus 1:24.437 11
19 Jon Lancaster Hilmer Motorsport 1:24.453 14
20. André Negrao Arden International 1:24.476 11
21. Artem Markelov RT RUSSIAN TIME 1:24.496 11
22. Rio Haryanto EQ8 Caterham Racing 1:24.502 11
23. Adrian Quaife-Hobbs Rapax 1:24.590 12
24. Sergio Canamasas Trident 1:24.598 13
25. Marco Sorensen MP Motorsport 1:24.888 13
26. Daniel De Jong MP Motorsport 1:25.189 11