Jolyon Palmer continues fantastic start to GP2 season by taking pole in Monaco
Championship leader yet to qualify lower than second in 2014
By William Esler
Last Updated: 23/05/14 9:26am
Due to the traffic problems that would be caused by having 26 cars all fighting for space on the tight, short lap in Monte Carlo, GP2 qualifying was split into two groups with the odd numbered cars heading out in the first 16-minute session. However, the times between the sessions are not amalgamated - instead the fastest time overall is awarded pole with the rest of the drivers in that group filling the odd side of the grid with the other session filling the even side.
With number seven on his DAMS car, Palmer was in the first group and set the early pace with his banker lap, before traffic prevented him from improving as the drivers started to push. Johnny Cecotto and Daniel Abt then traded fastest times as Palmer dropped to near the bottom of the timesheet as the Briton struggled to find a gap. The 23-year-old delivered when it mattered, though, storming back to the top in the closing moments with a 1:20.774.
Mitch Evans was another to make his final effort count as the Russian Time driver leapt up to second, having been relatively anonymous throughout the session.
Thus the benchmark was set for the drivers in Group B, who had the advantage of knowing what would be required of them to take pole for the blue-ribbon event of the season.
However, the only man who looked like challenging Palmer was his team-mate Stephane Richelmi, but the Monegasque driver could not find a clear lap during the session and found himself not only slower than the pace set by Group A, but also behind the Caterham of Rio Haryanto. Ironically it was the Indonesian who blocked him at Rascasse on one of his flyers.
The four points for pole position sees Palmer extend his Drivers' Championship lead over Julian Leal to 26 points ahead of the Feature Race, which is live on Sky Sports F1 at 10:05am on Friday.
* Four drivers were given three-place grid penalties for impeding other competitors. Haryanto has been demoted to fifth on the grid for blocking Richelmi, Abt drops to tenth for impeding Cecotto, whilst his team-mate Facu Regalia is relegated to 23rd for delaying Sergio Canamasas and Felipe Nasr drops to P18 as he was also found guilty of blocking Cecotto.
GP2 Qualifying - Monaco - Group A
1) Jolyon Palmer (GBR) - DAMS - 1:20.774
2) Mitch Evans (NZL) - Russian Time - +0.414
3) Johnny Cecotto (VEN) - Trident - +0.587
4) Daniel Abt (GER) - Hilmer Motorsport - +0.986
5) Raffaele Marciello (ITA) - Racing Engineering - +1.143
6) Alexander Rossi (USA) - Caterham Racing - +1.372
7) Simon Trummer (SUI) - Rapax - +1.522
8) Felipe Nasr (BRA) - Carlin - +1.607
9) Kimiya Sato (JAP) - Campos Racing - +1.814
10) Tio Ellinas (CYP) - MP Motorsport - +1.907
GP2 Qualifying - Monaco - Group B
1) Rio Haryanto (INA) - Caterham Racing - 1:21.433
2) Stephane Richelmi (MON) - DAMS - +0.011
3) Stoffel Vandoorne (BEL) - ART Grand Prix - +0.075
4) Stefano Coletti (MON) - Racing Engineering - +0.216
5) Julian Leal (COL) - Carlin - +0.319
6) Sergio Canamasas (ESP) - Trident - +0.493
7) Arthur Pic (FRA) - Campos Racing - +0.774
8) Rene Binder (AUT) - Arden International - +0.837
9) Adrian Quaife-Hobbs (GBR) - Rapax - +0.844
10) Facu Regalia (ARG) - Hilmer Motorsport - +1.040