Vandoorne grabs third pole in a row in Sochi


Stoffel Vandoorne took his third pole position in a row in Sochi, but the ART Grand Prix driver was made to work hard for the position, with Arthur Pic setting an identical lap time in his Campos Racing machine.

Both Vandoorne and Pic set a lap time of 1:45.402s, but with the Belgian setting the time first, he will start at the front, with the Frenchman alongside him on the front row.

Takuya Izawa was an excellent third, with the second ART Grand Prix driver putting in by far his best qualifying performance of the season. For the first time all year, he would have been on a level playing field with the rest of the field, with Sochi hosting its first race, it meant the Japanese driver was not the only one learning the track.

Current championship leader Jolyon Palmer will start from fourth for DAMS, but will be disappointed to have been baulked by a slower driver on his fastest lap that could have seen him nearer the front.

Raffaele Marciello will start fifth for Racing Engineering alongside Mitch Evans of Russian Time, while Kimiya Sato will start seventh for Campos Racing as he aims to score his first points of the season on Saturday.

Stefano Coletti was eighth fastest in the second Racing Engineering entry, while Andre Negrao of Arden International and Felipe Nasr of Carlin completed the top ten.

Unfortunately for Nasr, who is Palmer’s main championship rival, he was penalised post-session for blocking Coletti, and will start twelfth, with Sergio Canamasas moving into the top ten for Trident Racing.

Pierre Gasly would have been tenth for Caterham Racing having initially qualified eleventh ahead of Canamasas, but the five place grid penalty carried over from Monza means he will start sixteenth.

Sochi Qualifying Times

POS DRIVER NAT TEAM TIME
1 Stoffel Vandoorne BEL ART Grand Prix 1:45.402
2 Arthur Pic FRA Campos Racing 1:45.402
3 Takuya Izawa JAP ART Grand Prix 1:45.675
4 Jolyon Palmer GBR DAMS 1:45.685
5 Raffaele Marciello ITA Racing Engineering 1:45.772
6 Mitch Evans NZL RT Russian Time 1:45.813
7 Kimiya Sato JAP Campos Racing 1:46.102
8 Stefano Coletti MON Racing Engineering 1:46.120
9 Andre Negrao BRZ Arden International 1:46.173
10 Sergio Canamasas ESP Trident Racing 1:46.411
11 Nathanael Berthon FRA Venezuela GP Lazarus 1:46.497
12* Felipe Nasr BRZ Carlin 1:46.210
13 Daniel Abt GER Hilmer Motorsport 1:46.554
14 Rio Haryanto INO Caterham Racing 1:46.560
15 Marco Sorensen DEN MP Motorsport 1:46.628
16** Pierre Gasly FRA Caterham Racing 1:46.377
17 Jon Lancaster GBR Hilmer Motorsport 1:46.651
18 Johnny Cecotto Jr VEN Trident Racing 1:46.788
19 Julian Leal COL Carlin 1:46.995
20 Tio Ellinas CYP Rapax 1:47.006
21 Stephane Richelmi MON DAMS 1:47.025
22 Rene Binder AUT Arden International 1:47.091
23 Artem Markelov RUS RT Russian Time 1:47.386
24 Simon Trummer SWI Rapax 1:47.550
25 Daniel de Jong NED MP Motorsport 1:47.611
26 Sergio Campana ITA Venezuela GP Lazarus 1:47.795
* Two place penalty for blocking *
** Five place penalty for avoidable collision in Italy **