Frenchman soars to final 2015 pole
Pierre Gasly repeated his storming free practice performance by dominating this evening’s qualifying session in Abu Dhabi, denying 2015 champion Stoffel Vandoorne a final pole position for the season as the pair topped the timesheets ahead of Mitch Evans.
The Red Bull test driver annexed the top spot with a lap of 1:47.769, although Vandoorne closed to within a tenth in a frenetic session which saw the top four drivers bring home times under the McLaren tester’s 2014 pole as the weekend hangs onto the cooler than usual temperatures.
The session started with the usual jockeying for position when the lights went green, but Gasly ignored them all and set the pace right from the start: Vandoorne, Evans and Alexander Rossi all briefly put themselves on top but the Frenchman broke their hearts with a 48.0 lap at the seven minute mark, to take the lead back to the pits, and then went faster again when he returned to the track to drive the point home.
His rivals were still determined to put up a challenge: teammate Alex Lynn jumped Vandoorne for P2 on his first flyer on his second set, but the Belgian stole it back a minute later to at least start from the front row. The pair (and Gasly) returned to the pits with a minute remaining: Rossi tried to push forward but made a small mistake in sector 1 to put paid to his efforts, while Evans’ last ditch attempt paid off with P3 for tomorrow.
Lynn leads the rest of the field, ahead of Raffaele Marciello, Rio Haryanto (who will be delighted to outqualify his rival Sergey Sirotkin for third in championship), Rossi, Jordan King, Nobuharu Matsushita and Artem Markelov, who all qualified within a second of pole and will be looking for more rewards in tomorrow’s feature race.
Yas Marina – Qualifying session
 
Driver
Team
Laptime
Laps
1.
Pierre Gasly
DAMS
1:47.769
10
2.
Stoffel Vandoorne
ART Grand Prix
1:47.866
9
3.
Mitch Evans
RUSSIAN TIME
1:48.014
11
4.
Alex Lynn
DAMS
1:48.049
10
5.
Raffaele Marciello
Trident
1:48.419
11
6.
Rio Haryanto
Campos Racing
1:48.429
11
7.
Alexander Rossi
Racing Engineering
1:48.598
12
8.
Jordan King
Racing Engineering
1:48.632
11
9.
Nobuharu Matsushita
ART Grand Prix
1:48.699
10
10.
Artem Markelov
RUSSIAN TIME
1:48.743
11
11.
André Negrao
Arden International
1:48.822
11
12.
Sergey Sirotkin
Rapax
1:48.981
11
13.
Norman Nato
Arden International
1:49.105
11
14.
Arthur Pic
Campos Racing
1:49.110
11
15.
Sergio Canamasas
Daiko Team Lazarus
1:49.146
11
16.
Dean Stoneman
Carlin
1:49.166
11
17.
Nicholas Latifi
MP Motorsport
1:49.350
11
18.
Oliver Rowland
Status Grand Prix
1:49.374
11
19
Rene Binder
MP Motorsport
1:49.661
12
20.
Daniiel De Jong
Trident
1:49.727
12
21.
Nathanaël Berthon
Daiko Team Lazarus
1:49.779
11
22.
Marlon Stockinger
Status Grand Prix
1:49.839
11
23.
Gustav Malja
Rapax
1:50.543
11
24.
Sean Gelael
Carlin
1:51.604
11