Sergey Sirotkin defied his lack of experience at the Silverstone circuit by claiming pole position for tomorrow’s feature race on his first visit to the track, setting two laps quick enough to take the top spot and denying McLaren tester Stoffel Vandoorne and an impressively quick Richie Stanaway the glory in this afternoon’s qualifying session.
The Russian stopped the clocks at 1:39.949 on his final lap, marginally improving his earlier time to solidify his first GP2 pole position as Vandoorne pushed too hard in pursuit, running slightly wide at Becketts as the clock rolled down to zero, while Stanaway pipped Alexander Rossi on his last lap for P3.
Once again the session took place under gloriously sunny conditions, with Vandoorne starting as he meant to go on by claiming the top spot on his first flying lap, using his Pirelli medium tyres to great effect as Sirotkin, Alex Lynn and Sergio Canamasas tried to get on song with the Belgian, with debutant Oliver Rowland managing to find an early P3 on his last flying lap.
Halfway through the session and everyone was in the pits except Rio Haryanto, who had been delayed by some last minute fettling and was looking to make full use once again of a clear track. Unfortunately for the Indonesian it didn’t work as well in qualifying as it did this morning: as his rivals re-emerged he had only managed to find P6.
As the clock wound down the pace on track was red hot: Sirotkin was setting fastest sector times and took the top spot with four minutes remaining, while Rossi briefly held P3 on his last lap until Stanaway stole it away a few seconds later, Nick Yelloly was on a quick lap but found traffic, Vandoorne was slightly loose into Becketts before missing the next corner, and then Sirotkin ran faster again, closing any arguments as the chequered flag waved for them all.
Behind the top 3 was a disappointed Rossi, Arthur Pic, Pierre Gasly, Nobuharu Matsushita, an impressive Rowland in P9 for his first time in a GP2 car, and Julian Leal were all within a second of pole: tomorrow’s feature race promises the usual fireworks as they all look to move back ahead of their rivals at the front.
1 Sergey Sirotkin Rapax 01:39.949
2 Stoffel Vandoorne ART Grand Prix 01:40.134
3 Richie Stanaway Status Grand Prix 01:40.378
4 Alexander Rossi Racing Engineering 01:40.419
5 Arthur Pic Campos Racing 01:40.434
21 Mitch Evans RUSSIAN TIME 01:41.275