Stephane Richelmi shrugged off the scorching conditions to bring home pole position for tomorrow's feature race with a storming lap in this afternoon's qualifying session in Barcelona, leaving his rivals in his dust as he claimed the top spot from teammate Jolyon Palmer and Stefano Coletti.
The track temperature soared to 47 degrees as the pit lights turned green, with Alexander Rossi leading the field onto the circuit and consequently setting the first target time. Unfortunately for the American his time lasted less than a minute, when Richelmi blasted past the pits to stop the clock at 1:29.293 for a time which was not to be bettered.
But it was not for want of trying: Palmer crossed the line just a tenth off his teammate, but with tires past their best in the extreme heat everyone retired for new rubber, other than the ART pair who were repeating their Bahrain habit of going out when their rivals came in.
On fresh tires there were improvements to be had, as shown by Coletti's improvement in the closing minutes, but a small mistake by Palmer saw his teammate hold on for pole. Behind the top three was Raffaele Marciello, Felipe Nasr, Mitch Evans, Julian Leal, Rossi, Tio Ellinas and Stoffel Vandoorne, all of whom were within a second of pole and could expect more in tomorrow's feature event.
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