Jolyon Palmer Storms to Bahrain Pole


British driver Jolyon Palmer made a perfect start to the season by grabbing pole position for the Bahrain feature race, and thus claiming the first four points of the season.  The DAMS driver’s lap of 1:38.865s under the lights in Sakhir was enough to take top spot, beating Belgian rookie Stoffel Vandoorne into second place by 0.030s.

The ART Grand Prix driver is under investigation for an earlier lap in the session for exceeding track limits, but as he set a faster lap later on, the likelihood of punishment is minimal.  Palmer and Vandoorne ended up being the only drivers to record laps under the 1:39s barrier.

German Daniel Abt had a good session, the Hilmer Motorsport staying top for good parts of it before slipping to third at the end, just ahead the second DAMS machine of Monegasque driver Stephane Richelmi.  Fifth went to Indonesian driver Rio Haryanto for EQ8 Caterham Racing, who had set the fastest lap time when the series tested on this track a few weeks ago.

The second Monegasque driver in the field, Stefano Coletti of Racing Engineering, will start from sixth on the grid, just ahead of free practice pacesetter Mitch Evans in his Russian Time entry.  Williams F1 reserve driver Felipe Nasr was eighth quickest in the fastest Carlin entry, just ahead of Italian rookie Raffaele Marciello in the second Racing Engineering car, while Arthur Pic put in a strong lap in his Campos Racing machine to end up tenth.

It was a difficult session for one of the championship favourites with Alexander Rossi finishing a lowly fifteenth.  He will have his work cut out to get into the points tomorrow but anything can happen in GP2 and it usually does.

Once again the times in the session were close, with 18 drivers within one second of Palmer’s pole time.  The session had to be red flagged about two thirds of the way through when Russian Time debutant Artem Markelov span and stalled coming out of the first corner.  Markelov will start 26th and last.  An incident between Nasr and Trident Racing’s Johnny Cecotto Jr is also under investigation by the stewards.

But ultimately it was Jolyon Palmer and DAMS’ day, and they will go into the feature race in pole position and as championship leaders.

Provisional Bahrain Qualifying Result

POS DRIVER NAT TEAM TIME
1 Jolyon Palmer GBR DAMS 1:38.865
2 Stoffel Vandoorne BEL ART Grand Prix 1:38.895
3 Daniel Abt GER Hilmer Motorsport 1:39.073
4 Stephane Richelmi MON DAMS 1:39.081
5 Rio Haryanto INO EQ8 Caterham Racing 1:39.228
6 Stefano Coletti MON Racing Engineering 1:39.271
7 Mitch Evans NZL RT Russian Time 1:39.274
8 Felipe Nasr BRZ Carlin 1:39.301
9 Raffaele Marciello ITA Racing Engineering 1:39.449
10 Arthur Pic FRA Campos Racing 1:39.462
11 Jon Lancaster GBR MP Motorsport 1:39.507
12 Julian Leal COL Carlin 1:39.588
13 Johnny Cecotto Jr VEN Trident Racing 1:39.615
14 Andre Negrao BRZ Arden International 1:39.647
15 Alexander Rossi USA EQ8 Caterham Racing 1:39.651
16 Kimiya Sato JAP Campos Racing 1:39.749
17 Rene Binder AUT Arden International 1:39.788
18 Conor Daly USA Venezuela GP Lazarus 1:39.848
19 Facu Regalia ARG Hilmer Motorsport 1:39.881
20 Nathanael Berthon FRA Venezuela GP Lazarus 1:39.928
21 Simon Trummer SWI Rapax 1:40.059
22 Daniel de Jong NED MP Motorsport 1:40.060
23 Takuya Izawa JAP ART Grand Prix 1:40.401
24 Adrian Quaife-Hobbs GBR Rapax 1:40.408
25 Axcil Jefferies ZIM Trident Racing 1:40.619
26 Artem Markelov RUS RT Russian Time 1:41.172