Giovinazzi flies to GP2 pole in Spa

Antonio Giovinazzi has claimed his second GP2 pole position in the dying seconds of today’s qualifying session at Spa-Francorchamps: the Italian rookie denied teammate and Series leader Pierre Gasly who thought he had done enough until Giovinazzi crushed his hopes with a laptime of 1:56.607. Gustav Malja completed the top 3.

The session opened in hot temperatures as the twenty two cars took to the track on Soft Pirelli tires. Gasly was quick to set a marker of 1:57.068 – two tenths better than Giovinazzi. Ten minutes into the clock, the Red Bull protege returned to the pits whilst all eyes were on title rival and joint Series leader Sergey Sirotkin who seemed to struggle and could not do better than P15 on his first stint.

Halfway through the session, both PREMA drivers sat in 1-2, ahead of Jordan King, Norman Nato and Nobuharu Matsushita. All cars returned to the pits for some fresh tires. Malja was the first man to resume his session with twelve minutes left on the clock. He enjoyed a clear track to light sectors 1 and 3 in purple. The Rapax driver moved up to P2 just behind Gasly. Nato also found some extra pace to go over the line in third ahead of Giovinazzi.

With three minutes left in the session, Gasly was determined to bag a third pole this season: he improved in sector 1; then he went purple in sector 2. He locked up but managed to keep the momentum in sector 3 to lap the Belgian track in a 1:56.768 beating his personal best by 3 tenths of a second. He returned to the pits confident that he had done enough, but Giovinazzi was not done. In the dying minutes, the Italian improved in the first two sectors and found Mitch Evans ahead of him in the final sector. He took advantage of the tow from the Kiwi to go quickest and clock in a laptime of 1:56.607, one tenth better than Gasly, and thus claiming pole position – PREMA’s fourth and their first full front row in their rookie season.

At the checkered flag, Malja retained P3 ahead of Nato, King, Arthur Pic, Raffaele Marciello, Alex Lynn, Matsushita and Marvin Kirchhofer.

Results

Spa-Francorchamps, Belgium – Qualifying session

Pos

Driver

Team

Laptime

Laps

1.

Antonio Giovinazzi

PREMA Racing

1:56.607

10

2.

Pierre Gasly

PREMA Racing

1:56.768

8

3.

Gustav Malja

Rapax

1:57.124

10

4.

Norman Nato

Racing Engineering

1:57.211

10

5.

Jordan King

Racing Engineering

1:57.411

10

6.

Arthur Pic

Rapax

1:57.462

10

7.

Raffaele Marciello

RUSSIAN TIME

1:57.512

10

8.

Alex Lynn

DAMS

1:57.658

10

9.

Nobuharu Matsushita

ART Grand Prix

1:57.665

10

10.

Marvin Kirchhöfer

Carlin

1:57.750

10

11.

Nicholas Latifi

DAMS

1:57.768

10

12.

Artem Markelov

RUSSIAN TIME

1:57.906

10

13.

Sergey Sirotkin

ART Grand Prix

1:57.927

10

14.

Luca Ghiotto

Trident

1:57.964

10

15.

Oliver Rowland

MP Motorsport

1:57.987

9

16.

Sergio Canamasas

Carlin

1:58.165

10

17.

Sean Gelael

Pertamina Campos Racing

1:58.252

10

18.

Daniël de Jong

MP Motorsport

1:58.342

11

19.

Mitch Evans

Pertamina Campos Racing

1:58.386

11

20.

Jimmy Eriksson

Arden International

1:58.674

10

21.

Nabil Jeffri

Arden International

1:59.292

10

22.

Philo Paz Armand

Trident

1:59.577

11

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