Calado powers to pole in Valencia
Englishman on top in qualifying
James Calado has claimed his second pole position of the season with a scorching lap in hot conditions to take the top spot by just 0.007 seconds from Felipe Nasr and Esteban Gutierrez this afternoon in Valencia.
The Briton’s best time of 1:47.342 was set at the halfway point of the session on the soft compound Pirelli tyres, on which most of the field started, and everyone’s tyres was affected when Giancarlo Serenelli spun at the bridge on the first flying lap, grinding to a halt in the middle of the track and prompting a red flag period as his rivals made their way back to the pits, with most unable to complete a lap.
If there were any questions about the super softs having any life left in them, they were soon answered when Davide Valsecchi set the fastest lap on the red-rimmed tyres with which he began the session, but over the next 2 minutes Gutierrez, then Nasr, then Calado pushed the Italian down the order, with the Englishman going five thousandths faster again a few minutes later before returning for fresh boots.
Max Chilton was the first man back on track, wearing super softs for good measure, and though he improved to P6 with a clear track most of his rivals were not so lucky: Calado even managed a spin late in the session as he looked for more time, but managed to stay off the walls and slunk back to the pits as the clock wound down to zero.
Just behind the top three were Valsecchi and Giedo van der Garde (two tenths splitting the top five drivers), ahead of Chilton, Fabio Leimer (who also improved on his second set), Jolyon Palmer, this morning’s quickest man Marcus Ericsson and Rio Haryanto, all well within a second of pole. With temperatures set to raise yet further tomorrow, the feature race promises scorching battles up and down the grid.