Stoffel Vandoorne took his third successive GP2 pole in a closely fought encounter
Arthur Pic matches Belgian's time to the thousandth; Jolyon Palmer starts fourth; Felipe Nasr only tenth
By William Esler
Last Updated: 10/10/14 5:52pm
Stoffel Vandoorne made it three successive GP2 pole positions, but there was nothing, quite literally, to separate the Belgian and Arthur Pic on the timesheets in Russia.
The Frenchman matched the ART driver’s time exactly, but having posted the his lap a few seconds earlier, it will be the McLaren protégé who will start at the front of the pack for Saturday’s Feature Race.
Having never qualified higher than 16th all season, Takuya Izawa impressed in the second ART car throughout the session and will line up third on the grid, just ahead of championship leader Jolyon Palmer.
The Briton had headed the times after the initial runs in Sochi and perhaps could have challenged for pole had he not been blocked by Daniel de Jong in the final corners having gone purple in the middle sector. The DAMS driver made his feelings clear to the Dutchman as he crossed the line, gesticulating frantically from the cockpit.
Whilst Vandoorne mathematically still has an outside chance of the title, Palmer’s only realistic remaining challenger for the crown is Felipe Nasr whose qualifying troubles continued with the Brazilian only tenth quickest. His day would get worse, however, when the stewards found him guilty of impeding Stefano Coletti at Turn 18 and handed him a three-place grid penalty. Nasr will start 12th rather than 13th, though, courtesy of Pierre Gasly’s existing penalty from Monza,
Palmer needs to score just eight points more than Nasr over the weekend to take the drivers’ title and Vandoorne must score 19 points more than the Briton to remain in the fight.
The GP2 Feature Race from Russia is live on Sky Sports F1 following F1 Qualifying at 1:35pm.
GP2 Russia – qualifying
1) Stoffel Vandoorne (BEL) – ART Grand Prix – 1:45.402
2) Arthur Pic (FRA) – Campos Racing - +0.000
3) Takuya Izawa (JAP) – ART Grand Prix - +0.273
4) Jolyon Palmer (GBR) – DAMS - +0.283
5) Raffaele Marciello (ITA) – Racing Engineering - +0.370
6) Mitch Evans (NZL) – Russian Time - +0.411
7) Kimiya Sato (JAP) – Campos Racing - +0.700
8) Stefano Coletti (MON) – Racing Engineering - +0.718
9) Andre Negrao (BRA) – Arden International - +0.771
10) Felipe Nasr (BRA) – Carlin - +0.808
17) Jon Lancaster (GBR) – Hilmer Motorsport - +1.249