Home Formula 2 Vandoorne makes history in GP2 qualifying at Spielberg

Vandoorne makes history in GP2 qualifying at Spielberg

by Valentin Khorounzhiy
Photo:  Sam Bloxham / GP2 Media Service

Photo: Sam Bloxham / GP2 Media Service

Belgian racer Stoffel Vandoorne became the GP2 series’ all-time leader in the number of poles secured in qualifying, beating the championship’s field for the seventh time at Spielberg.

It took the points leader just 15 rounds to take previous record off Nelson Piquet and Giorgio Pantano, who had achieved that mark in 22 and 39 rounds respectively.

This time by, Vandoorne will be joined on front row by his teammate Nobuharu Matsushita, who had previously already qualified second to the Belgian for the Bahrain season opener.

Practice pacesetter Sergey Sirotkin looked a good shout to take his maiden pole in GP2 here as he led Vandoorne by just 0.01s after the first round of laps.

And the Russian did improve as the session resumed, only for Vandoorne to go two tenths better, which would prove good enough for pole.

With Sirotkin unable to improve with his final laps, Matushita moved past, as did Pierre Gasly, the Frenchman clinching third on the local track of his benefactors Red Bull after grinding to a halt in practice.

Sirotkin took fourth, while Rio Haryanto led Raffaele Marciello by just 0.002s in fifth place.

British rookies Nick Yelloly and Jordan King will make up row four, ahead of Arthur Pic and Alex Lynn.

Vandoorne’s chief rival Alexander Rossi was just 12th, one spot behind Russian Time’s Mitch Evans.

24 cars all fit within two seconds, while the 25th driver in the timesheets – Zoel Amberg – did not set a time at all.

And while it is uncertain whether the Swiss driver can starfor Saturday’s race, what has been cleared up is that Sergio Canamasas will miss the round, having failed to reach an agreement with MP.

UPDATE: A three-place grid penalty for Jordan King for a sprint race incident at Monte Carlo will see him start 11th, behind Pic, Lynn and Evans.

Qualifying results
Pos. Driver Team Time Gap Laps
1 Stoffel Vandoorne ART Grand Prix 1:14.174 15
2 Nobuharu Matsushita ART Grand Prix 1:14.263 0.089 15
3 Pierre Gasly DAMS 1:14.300 0.126 15
4 Sergey Sirotkin Rapax 1:14.434 0.260 17
5 Rio Haryanto Campos Racing 1:14.481 0.307 15
6 Raffaele Marciello Trident 1:14.483 0.309 16
7 Nick Yelloly Hilmer Motorsport 1:14.538 0.364 17
8 Arthur Pic Campos Racing 1:14.650 0.476 15
9 Alex Lynn DAMS 1:14.818 0.644 15
10 Mitch Evans Russian Time 1:14.861 0.687 15
11 Jordan King* Racing Engineering 1:14.574 0.400 16
12 Alexander Rossi Racing Engineering 1:14.881 0.707 15
13 Julian Leal Carlin 1:14.893 0.719 15
14 Richie Stanaway Status Grand Prix 1:14.922 0.748 13
15 Artem Markelov Russian Time 1:14.978 0.804 16
16 Norman Nato Arden International 1:14.996 0.822 16
17 Rene Binder Trident 1:15.030 0.856 15
18 Daniel de Jong MP Motorsport 1:15.207 1.033 16
19 Robert Visoiu Rapax 1:15.396 1.222 17
20 Marlon Stockinger Status Grand Prix 1:15.434 1.260 14
21 Andre Negrao Arden International 1:15.537 1.363 13
22 Nathanael Berthon Daiko Team Lazarus 1:15.750 1.576 15
23 Marco Sorensen Carlin 1:15.853 1.679 15
24 Simon Trummer Hilmer Motorsport 1:16.159 1.985 18
25 Zoel Amberg Daiko Team Lazarus No Time

* – three-place grid penalty