McLaren junior driver Stoffel Vandoorne became the first driver in history to claim seven GP2 series pole positions after topping the timesheets in qualifying at the Red Bull Ring in Austria.
The ART Grand Prix driver set the fastest time on his second run with a time of 1m14.174s . It wasn’t all smooth sailing for the Belgian though as he was pushed hard by practice pacesetter Sergey Sirotkin.
Sirotkin set the early pace but was overhauled by Vandoorne on his second run who went 0.260s clear of the Russian.
The Rapax driver however, was unable to improve on his opening run and fell down to fourth behind Vandoorne’s ART team-mate Nobuharu Matsuhita, who helped secure a one-two for ART, and DAMS driver Pierre Gasly.
The gap between Vandoorne and Matsushita was only 0.089s which highlighted just how tight qualifying was as the top 17 drivers were separated by less than a second.
Rio Haryanto qualified fifth, ahead of Trident’s Raffaele Marciello and Hilmer Motorsport’s Nick Yelloly.
Jordan King qualified in eighth ahead of Arthur Pic and Alex Lynn who fell down the order in the closing stages.
Some notable absentees from the top 10 were Mitch Evans and Alexander Rossi who qualified down in 11th and 12th respectively.
Only 24 cars were able to set a time after Zoel Amberg, who competed at Le Mans last weekend, suffered mechanical problems and the second MP Motorsport, usually driven by Sergio Canamasas, didn’t run.