GP2

Sam Bird (RUSSIAN TIME)

Bird blasts to Monza pole—
 
Briton bags second top spot of season—
 
Sam Bird has picked up in Monza where he left off in Spa, claiming his second consecutive pole position in a dramatic qualifying session this afternoon where all of the championship contenders were in the mix right up to the end, as the Briton grabbed the top spot by just 0.034 seconds from Fabio Leimer and Jolyon Palmer.
 
In a session which saw temperatures soar from the already hot practice period, Bird set his best time of 1:31.788 with just five minutes remaining in a session which was already full of action, setting the cat among the pigeons as his rivals pushed up to, and in some cases over, the limit to steal a march on each other for tomorrow’s race.
 
Everyone was immediately on track as the lights went green, with series leader Stefano Coletti setting the early pace after picking up a great tow from rival James Calado, setting a target which was soon blasted down by Julian Leal, Stéphane Richelmi, Leimer and Palmer. But two big spins at the parabolica by Sergio Canamasas and Vittorio Ghirelli left gravel all over the track, prompting a red flag period to clean up the mess.
 
If anyone thought that the timesheets were set, they were soon put to rights when the track went live again as Leimer cut a tenth out of the top time, with Bird soon cutting it even further. The number of championship contenders who cut the first chicane showed just how hard they were pushing, but Palmer was the only man to actually improve his time, albeit missing his target by a fraction.
 
Behind the top three are Marcus Ericsson, Tom Dillmann, Coletti, Dani Clos, Calado, Jake Rosenzweig and Simon Trummer, all of whom will be thinking ‘what if?’ after a session full of promise: with 22 drivers within a second, tomorrow’s feature race offers an excellent opportunity for them to move back up to where they feel they should be today.
 
Monza – Qualifying Session
 
Driver
Team
Laptime
Laps
1.
Sam Bird
RUSSIAN TIME
1:31.788
12
2.
Fabio Leimer
Racing Engineering
1:31.822
14
3.
Jolyon Palmer
Carlin
1:31.843
13
4.
Marcus Ericsson
DAMS
1:31.915
14
5.
Tom Dillmann
RUSSIAN TIME
1:31.948
10
6.
Stefano Coletti
Rapax
1:31.993
15
7.
Dani Clos
MP Motorsport
1:32.024
11
8.
James Calado
ART Grand Prix
1:32.033
12
9.
Jake Rosenzweig
Barwa Addax Tean
1:32.100
12
10.
Simon Trummer
Rapax
1:32.164
12
11.
Stéphane Richelmi
DAMS
1:32.168
12
12.
Felipe Nasr
Carlin
1:32.381
13
13.
Rio Haryanto
Barwa Addax Team
1:32.384
13
14.
Julian Leal
Racing Engineering
1:32.398
15
15.
Alexander Rossi
EQ8 Caterham Racing
1:32.447
14
16.
Adrian Quaife-Hobbs
Hilmer Motorsport
1:32.462
13
17.
Mitch Evans
Arden International
1:32.481
12
18.
Jon Lancaster
Hilmer Motorsport
1:32.482
13
19
Nathanaël Berthon
Trident Racing
1:32.554
13
20.
Daniel Abt
ART Grand Prix
1:32.627
12
21.
Johnny Cecotto
Arden International
1:32.650
12
22.
Daniel De Jong
MP Motorsport
1:32.751
10
23.
Sergio Campana
Trident Racing
1:33.195
14
24.
Rene Binder
Venezuela GP Lazarus
1:33.292
14
25.
Vittorio Ghirelli
Venezuela GP Lazarus
1:33.405
5
26.
Sergio Canamasas
EQ8 Caterham Racing
1:34.963
3