Red Bull protégé quickest in qualifying at Bahrain International Circuit
Pierre Gasly enjoyed his second pole position of the season in a thrilling qualifying session at Bahrain International Circuit. The Frenchman from DAMS set a laptime of 1:39.572, 0.040s better than 2015 GP2 Champion Stoffel Vandoorne. Ferrari academy driver Raffaele Marciello finished P3.
The session opened once again in high temperatures and under grey skies with 70% humidity. The twenty-four drivers fed onto the track on Pirelli soft tyres and it was Jordan King who set the early pace in a 1:40.217 with Gasly in tow (+0.182).
At the ten minute mark, Vandoorne dipped under 1m40s to go top. King improved but was unable to better the Belgian’s laptime. Norman Nato upset the British driver from Racing Engineering further by edging him out of P2.
Mid-session, the majority of the field returned to the pits for some fresh rubber and started to play the waiting game. One driver however was on a different strategy: Alexander Rossi found himself on a completely empty track with the sole mission to maximise the opportunity. Unfortunately for the American, he was not able to find the pace and ended his efforts with a fifth place.
With ten minutes left on the clock, as Rossi returned to the pits, the rest of the field exited. Marciello put his head down and lit sectors 1 and 2 in purple to claim the top spot, but Vandoorne would not let the Italian steal his thunder: he improved again and took provisional pole as Gasly also found some extra pace to move up to P2. Marciello went quickest again, but Gasly finally found the perfect lap to go top. His laptime of a 1:39.572 set three minutes before the end of the session was enough for pole today. Vandoorne improved one last time and edged Marciello out of P2.
At the chequered flag, behind the top 3, Alex Lynn took P4 ahead of King, Nato, Mitch Evans, Nobuharu Matsushita, Alexander Rossi and Arthur Pic.
Sakhir – Qualifying session
Driver
Team
Laptime
Laps
1.
Pierre Gasly
DAMS
1:39.572
11
2.
Stoffel Vandoorne
ART Grand Prix
1:39.612
11
3.
Raffaele Marciello
Trident
1:39.648
12
4.
Alex Lynn
DAMS
1:39.661
11
5.
Jordan King
Racing Engineering
1:39.902
11
6.
Norman Nato
Arden International
1:40.004
11
7.
Mitch Evans
RUSSIAN TIME
1:40.027
11
8.
Nobuharu Matsushita
ART Grand Prix
1:40.079
12
9.
Alexander Rossi
Racing Engineering
1:40.141
11
10.
Arthur Pic
Campos Racing
1:40.176
11
11.
Rio Haryanto
Campos Racing
1:40.212
12
12.
Artem Markelov
RUSSIAN TIME
1:40.354
11
13.
Rene Binder
MP Motorsport
1:40.367
11
14.
Sergey Sirotkin
Rapax
1:40.539
10
15.
Nathanaël Berthon
Daiko Team Lazarus
1:40.571
12
16.
Sergio Canamasas
Daiko Team Lazarus
1:40.588
12
17.
Marlon Stockinger
Status Grand Prix
1:40.650
11
18.
Oliver Rowland
Status Grand Prix
1:40.720
10
19
Dean Stoneman
Carlin
1:41.106
11
20.
Nicholas Latifi
MP Motorsport
1:41.145
11
21.
Daniiel De Jong
Trident
1:41.208
12
22.
André Negrao
Arden International
1:41.432
11
23.
Gustav Malja
Rapax
1:41.775
11
24.
Sean Gelael
Carlin
1:42.840
11