Once again on stellar form, Series leader Stoffel Vandoorne achieved a record today at the Red Bull Ring by snatching his seventh pole position, the most in GP2’s history. With a laptime of 1:14.174, he beat his teammate Nobuharu Matsushita by 0.089s. Just like in the first round of the season at Sakhir, it will be an all ART Grand Prix front row. Pierre Gasly completed the top three.
The sun appeared above the Austrian track as the pitlane opened and the drivers fed onto it on Supersoft Pirelli tyres. This morning’s fastest man Sergey Sirotkin was the early pace setter and the first stint of the session saw him and Vandoorne swapping places at the top of the standings. Both drivers even clocked in an identical laptime of 1.14.721 at one point. Just before the halfway mark, Sirotkin reclaimed provisional pole having lapped the track in a 1:14.966.
Most of the cars returned to the pits and Nick Yelloly could enjoy a clear track to move up to fourth. With ten minutes left on the clock, the action resumed and on a fresh set of rubber, most drivers improved but none bettered Sirotkin’s laptme. The Rapax man went even quicker and hoped that it was enough, but it wasn’t: Vandoorne put his head down and in a final effort set up a laptime two tenths better than the Russian driver.
In the dying minutes, Matsushita also found some extra pace to pip Sirotkin. Gasly was also able to improve and moved up to third at the chequered flag. Behind the top four, Rio Haryanto, Raffaele Marciello, Yelloly, Jordan King (who will lose three grid places following a penalty picked up in Monte Carlo Sprint Race), Arthur Pic and Alex Lynn completed the top ten.
Spielberg – Qualifying Session*
1. Stoffel Vandoorne ART Grand Prix 1:14.174
2. Nobuharu Matsushita ART Grand Prix 1:14.263
3. Pierre Gasly DAMS 1:14.300
4. Sergey Sirotkin Rapax 1:14.434
5. Rio Haryanto Campos Racing 1:14.481
11. Mitch Evans RUSSIAN TIME 1:14.861
14. Richie Stanaway Status Grand Prix 1:14.922
Media: GP2 Series