Maldonado wins Monaco GP2 pole
Pastor Maldonado has thrown the cat among the pigeons by claiming pole position for tomorrow’s race in Monaco at this morning’s dramatic qualifying session, taking the top spot just ahead of Giorgio Pantano and Andi Zuber.
The Venezuelan set a time of 1:20.820 in the tenth minute of the session, and the usual Monaco madness allowed him to keep the top spot for the remainder of qualifying despite the best efforts of his rivals.
Pantano, Zuber and Timo Glock all set fastest times early in the session, with the latter looking exceptionally quick throughout but have bitter luck with traffic before Maldonado claimed the top spot and then sat there.
As expected there were a number of yellow flag periods throughout qualifying: Kohei Hirate went too deep into St Devote, managing to stay off the wall but stalling as he tried to get back on track, while Vitaly Petrov set the then fifth fastest lap time before going backwards into the same corner, removing his rear wing in the process.
After taking on new tires everyone was out and pushing hard once again: a little too hard in some cases, as Lucas di Grassi and Mike Conway tangled at the hairpin, while a number of drivers were missing their braking points into the nouvelle chicane.
The cause of their woes was soon clear: Luca Filippi had a big blow out as he ran through the tunnel, unfortunately leaving a long trail of oil behind him as he tried to get his car off the track, prompting the red flags to come out with seven minutes remaining.
The marshals were doing their usual magnificent job, but with safety at a premium there was no way to rush the process of clearing the oil. In any event the stoppage had little effect on the final results, as all of the drivers were on their second set of tires, which were already past their best.
With so much traffic on track once the drivers were released once more there was no chance of any movement at the top, and an ecstatic Maldonado was greeted with a hero’s welcome from his Trident team as he came back to the pits.
Behind the top three debutant Sebastien Buemi did an incredible job to claim a second row start for tomorrow’s race, ahead of teammate Lucas di Grassi, Vitaly Petrov, Luca Filippi, Timo Glock, Bruno Senna and Mike Conway.
With some unexpected names at the sharp end of the grid, tomorrow’s race promises to be yet another classic in the Principality.
Pos Driver Team Time Laps
1. Maldonado Trident Racing 1:20.820 17
2. Pantano Campos Grand Prix 1:21.158 + 0.338 17
3. Zuber iSport International 1:21.273 + 0.453 17
4. Buemi ART Grand Prix 1:21.387 + 0.567 17
5. Di Grassi ART Grand Prix 1:21.541 + 0.721 16
6. Petrov Campos Grand Prix 1:21.579 + 0.759 8
7. Filippi Super Nova International 1:21.659 + 0.839 11
8. Glock iSport International 1:21.684 + 0.864 17
9. Senna Arden International 1:21.827 + 1.007 18
10. Conway Super Nova International 1:21.971 + 1.151 17
11. Zaugg Arden International 1:21.986 + 1.166 18
12. Pizzonia FMS International 1:22.070 + 1.250 17
13. Lapierre DAMS 1:22.089 + 1.269 17
14. Villa Racing Engineering 1:22.290 + 1.470 15
15. Chandhok Durango 1:22.348 + 1.528 18
16. Rodriguez Minardi Piquet Sports 1:22.370 + 1.550 18
17. Soucek DPR 1:22.392 + 1.572 17
18. Nakajima DAMS 1:22.503 + 1.683 18
19. Bakkerud DPR 1:22.729 + 1.909 17
20. Garcia Durango 1:22.781 + 1.961 12
21. Jimenez Racing Engineering 1:22.866 + 2.046 17
22. Tung BCN Competicion 1:23.598 + 2.778 18
23. Yamamoto BCN Competicion 1:23.645 + 2.825 15
24. Tahinci FMS International 1:23.996 + 3.176 13
25. Hirate Trident Racing 1:24.350 + 3.530 3