DAMS driver Jolyon Palmer closely edged out McLaren development driver Stoffel Vandoorne by just 0.03 seconds in the GP2 Series’ first qualifying session of 2014 at the Bahrain International Circuit.
Top position swapped hands numerous times throughout the floodlight session until Palmer lapped the circuit in 1:38.865, which he set after a brief red flag stopped the session to retrieve Artem Markelov’s spun car.
McLaren protégé Vandoorne, who was runner up in Formula Renault 3.5 in 2013, looked more than comfortable in first official weekend with ART, and will be a big threat to Palmer in the feature race.
Russian Time’s Mitch Evans, who was an early pace setter during the weekend after topping the preceding practice session, could only manage the seventh-fastest time.
Williams test driver Felipe Nasr originally qualified in eighth until he was handed a three-place penalty for making an abnormal change of direction alongside Trident Racing’s Johnny Cecotto Jr.
Ferrari academy driver Raffaele Marciello will start his first GP2 race in 8th position after Nasr’s penalty. He was 0.01 seconds ahead of Arthur Pic, who impressed on Campos Racing’s return to GP2 after a couple of years out of the sport.
2014 GP2 Series Race of Bahrain – Qualifying Results:
|Driver||Team / Entry||Time||Gap||Laps|
|2.||Stoffel Vandoorne||ART Grand Prix||1:38.895||+ 0.030||10|
|3.||Daniel Abt||Hilmer Motorsport||1:39.073||+ 0.208||10|
|4.||Stéphane Richelmi||DAMS||1:39.081||+ 0.216||10|
|5.||Rio Haryanto||EQ8 Caterham Racing||1:39.228||+ 0.363||11|
|6.||Stefano Coletti||Racing Engineering||1:39.271||+ 0.406||11|
|7.||Mitch Evans||RT Russian Time||1:39.274||+ 0.409||9|
|8.||Felipe Nasr*||Carlin Motorsport||1:39.301||+ 0.436||10|
|9.||Raffaele Marciello||Racing Engineering||1:39.449||+ 0.584||10|
|10.||Arthur Pic||Campos Racing||1:39.462||+ 0.597||10|
|11.||Jon Lancaster||MP Motorsport||1:39.507||+ 0.642||10|
|12.||Julián Leal||Carlin Motorsport||1:39.588||+ 0.723||12|
|13.||Johnny Cecotto Jr||Trident Racing||1:39.615||+ 0.750||10|
|14.||André Negrão||Arden International||1:39.647||+ 0.782||10|
|15.||Alexander Rossi||EQ8 Caterham Racing||1:39.651||+ 0.786||10|
|16.||Kimiya Sato||Campos Racing||1:39.749||+ 0.884||11|
|17.||René Binder||Arden International||1:39.788||+ 0.923||9|
|18.||Conor Daly||Venezuela GP Lazarus||1:39.848||+ 0.983||10|
|19.||Facu Regalia||Hilmer Motorsport||1:39.881||+ 1.016||12|
|20.||Nathanaël Berthon||Venezuela GP Lazarus||1:39.928||+ 1.063||8|
|21.||Simon Trummer||Rapax Team||1:40.059||+ 1.194||11|
|22.||Daniël de Jong||MP Motorsport||1:40.060||+ 1.195||10|
|23.||Takuya Izawa||ART Grand Prix||1:40.401||+ 1.536||11|
|24.||Andrew Quaife-Hobbs||Rapax Team||1:40.408||+ 1.543||10|
|25.||Axcil Jefferies||Trident Racing||1:40.619||+ 1.754||11|
|26.||Artem Markelov||RT Russian Time||1:41.172||+ 2.307||5|
* Denotes a three-place grid penalty for making an abnormal change of direction while alongside another driver.
Image via XPB Images