GP2: Gasly soars to Monza pole

Pierre Gasly broke his rivals' hearts with a stunning lap late in qualifying to claim his first GP2 pole this afternoon in Monza, repeating his efforts from this morning’s free practice to steal the top spot from Mitch Evans and Series leader Stoffel Vandoorne.

The Red Bull test driver stopped the clocks at 1:31.272, two tenths to the good over his rivals in a dramatically close session at the Autodromo, which opened to the usual hot and sunny conditions known well to the teams, with all drivers on track immediately to take advantage of the rubber laid down by the F1 teams just moments before.

Sergey Sirotkin was the first man on track, and the Russian set the early running: five minutes in and Sirotkin led McLaren tester Vandoorne, Gasly and Evans around the circuit, with each driver going successively quicker to claim the top of the timesheets. By the time most of the field returned to the pits it looked as though the New Zealander had done enough to annex pole, with the Belgian finding a little more time next time round to slot in behind him.

With Alexander Rossi running almost alone on circuit on a different schedule to most of his rivals, eyes up and down the pitlane were watching the American’s times to see if there could be any improvement. By the time they all re-emerged the drivers largely spent their time dealing with the traffic caused by that many cars on track at the same time, but Gasly threaded the needle to find enough space to steal the top spot with six minutes remaining.

His rivals eased off in the hope of saving enough tires for a last ditch run, but it was not to be as the clock wound down to zero, handing Gasly the honors in an incredibly close session which saw 16 drivers within a second of pole, and everyone within two. Alex Lynn, Sirotkin, Rio Haryanto, Arthur Pic and Richie Stanaway will all be burning the midnight oil with their teams tonight, looking to find a way to jump the top three in tomorrow’s feature race.

Monza – Qualifying Session

Pos Driver Team Time Laps
1. Pierre Gasly DAMS 1:31.272 12
2. Mitch Evans RUSSIAN TIME 1:31.424 10
3. Stoffel Vandoorne ART Grand Prix 1:31.478 12
4. Alex Lynn DAMS 1:31.615 12
5. Sergey Sirotkin Rapax 1:31.640 12
6. Rio Haryanto Campos Racing 1:31.898 11
7. Arthur Pic Campos Racing 1:31.938 11
8. Richie Stanaway Status Grand Prix 1:31.985 11
9. Sergio Canamasas Daiko Team Lazarus 1:32.000 13
10. Alexander Rossi Racing Engineering 1:32.014 12
11. Raffaele Marciello Trident 1:32.071 12
12. Nobuharu Matsushita ART Grand Prix 1:32.100 13
13. Robert Visoiu Rapax 1:32.155 12
14. Julian Leal Carlin 1:32.159 13
15. Norman Nato Arden International 1:32.174 12
16. Johnny Cecotto Trident 1:32.176 11
17. Jordan King Racing Engineering 1:32.283 12
18. André Negrao Arden International 1:32.386 13
19 Jann Mardenborough Carlin 1:32.398 13
20. Rene Binder MP Motorsport 1:32.447 12
21. Marlon Stockinger Status Grand Prix 1:32.619 11
22. Artem Markelov RUSSIAN TIME 1:32.637 11
23. Simon Trummer Hilmer Motorsport 1:32.794 11
24. Patric Niederhauser Daiko Team Lazarus 1:32.913 13
25. Meindert Van Buuren MP Motorsport 1:33.126 11

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