Raffaele Marciello has claimed his maiden GP2 pole position with a stunning lap in tricky conditions in this afternoon’s qualifying session in Silverstone. The Italian ran slightly out of sync with his rivals, finding a bit of space to squeeze ahead of championship leader Jolyon Palmer, Mitch Evans and Julian Leal.
The Ferrari Academy driver made the most of the gaps in front of him to bag a lap of 1:40.445 just seven minutes into the session, but it was enough for a pole despite the top four drivers finishing within 0.04 of the best time in a heavily wind affected session.
Johnny Cecotto was the first man on track and was clearly looking to repeat his recent purple form, but the Venezuelan was unable to make it stick on his first flying lap: Palmer set the first meaningful time, with Evans following him to stop the clocks at just 0.006 behind the Briton, but 2 minutes later Marciello came round and broke their hearts.
It was clear that everyone was pushing hard, but most of the drivers were struggling to get a second quick lap out of their tyres, which made Leal’s lap just before halfway doubly impressive for P4: on fresh rubber battle was resumed, but with the wind picking up and the effective use of the ambient F1 rubber finished, there was little hope of much improvement.
And so it turned out: a number of drivers improved their first sector times but lost overall against the wind in the other sectors, forcing them to settle for a top ten position: Stoffel Vandoorne, Felipe Nasr, Marco Sorensen (an impressive P7 on debut), Stephane Richelmi, Cecotto and Daniel Abt filling the spots behind the top 4, and all were easily within a second of pole and will be able to fight for the win in tomorrow’s feature race.
Silverstone – Qualifying Session
Driver Team Laptime Laps
1. Raffaele Marciello Racing Engineering 1:40.445 12
2. Jolyon Palmer DAMS 1:40.472 11
3. Mitch Evans RT RUSSIAN TIME 1:40.478 10
4. Julian Leal Carlin 1:40.484 13
5. Stoffel Vandoorne ART Grand Prix 1:40.646 10
6. Felipe Nasr Carlin 1:40.658 11
7. Marco Sorensen MP Motorsport 1:40.658 12
8. Stéphane Richelmi DAMS 1:40.762 12
9. Johnny Cecotto Trident 1:40.845 13
10. Daniel Abt Hilmer Motorsport 1:40.880 11
11. Stefano Coletti Racing Engineering 1:40.885 13
12. Arthur Pic Campos Racing 1:40.961 11
13. Simon Trummer Rapax 1:41.064 14
14. Rio Haryanto EQ8 Caterham Racing 1:41.166 12
15. Sergio Canamasas Trident 1:41.196 11
16. Alexander Rossi EQ8 Caterham Racing 1:41.235 13
17. Adrian Quaife-Hobbs Rapax 1:41.252 13
18. Daniiel De Jong MP Motorsport 1:41.330 11
19 Nathanaël Berthon Venezuela GP Lazarus 1:41.362 12
20. Jon Lancaster Hilmer Motorsport 1:41.549 13
21. Conor Daly Venezuela GP Lazarus 1:41.556 12
22. Kimiya Sato Campos Racing 1:41.686 11
23. André Negrao Arden International 1:41.908 13
24. Takuya Izawa ART Grand Prix 1:42.003 11
25. Rene Binder Arden international 1:42.373 12
26. Artem Markelov RT RUSSIAN TIME 1:42.724 12