Following on from this morning’s Practice session which was one of the hottest on record, the sun gave a few more degrees to heat the air to a sweltering 33°C.
Nathanaël Berthon got the session underway by putting the first representative lap time on the board; at 1:24.253 it was already half a second faster than Stefano Coletti’s session topping time from Practice. Jolyon Palmer stamped his authority in the early stages with a lap time of 1:23.383 which would prove hard to topple.
Raffaele Marciello had his first attempt at a fast lap balked by Rio Haryanto in the final sector of the lap which gave the stewards their first job for after the session. After the first round of laps by drivers and at the midway point in the session, Palmer led the field ahead of: Coletti, Felipe Nasr, Stoffel Vandoorne and Alexander Rossi.
Daniël de Jong was the only driver to exploit the empty track but messed up his lap at turn eight and came back to the pits. On entrance to the pit lane it appeared the Dutch driver failed to see a red light indicating that he needed to stop for the FIA weighbridge. If true, a grid penalty could be a possibility for the MP Motorsport driver.
In the final five minutes, Nasr started his flying lap but had to back out immediately having gone wide at turn one. Marciello finally got a worthy lap on the chart in P5 until Cecotto bettered his time by a small margin and pushed the Italian to sixth. On one final attempt, Marciello’s lap was murdered by Takuya Izawa who was dawdling through the final complex of corners.
Stéphane Richelmi was looking good for pole with a purple middle sector but backed out in the final sector of the lap. Vandoorne was the final man left to challenge Palmer but could only get within two tenths of the Briton to line up in second place. An impressive lap by Tom Dillmann gave him fourth place on the grid on his debut with Caterham.
Jolyon Palmer will start the 200th GP2 Series race on pole position.
|2||S. Vandoorne||ART Grand Prix||0.282|
|3||S. Coletti||Racing Engineering||0.339|
|4||T. Dillmann||EQ8 Caterham Racing||0.393|
|6||A. Pic||Campos Racing||0.476|
|8||R. Marciello||Racing Engineering||0.535|
|9||A. Rossi||Campos Racing||0.582|
|12||R. Binder||Arden International||0.711|
|13||N. Berthon||Venezuela GP Lazarus||0.870|
|14||D. Abt||Hilmer Motorsport||0.928|
|15||M. Evans||RT RUSSIAN TIME||0.952|
|16||T. Izawa||ART Grand Prix||0.952|
|18||C. Daly||Venezuela GP Lazarus||1.054|
|19||J. Lancaster||Hilmer Motorsport||1.070|
|20||A. Negrão||Arden International||1.093|
|21||A. Markelov||RT RUSSIAN TIME||1.113|
|22||R. Haryanto||EQ8 Caterham Racing||1.119|
|25||M. Sørensen||MP Motorsport||1.505|