Luca Filippi continued to show it’s done upon his GP2 Series return by claiming pole position for the category’s first race in Singapore. The Italian, who won his first race back with Coloni at Monza two weeks ago, denied new Marussia reserve Max Chilton a third pole of the season by 0.05 seconds.
Out of the 26 drivers, only Felipe Nasr and Rio Haryanto had prior experience of the Marina Bay circuit courtesy of the Formula BMW race in 2008 when Nasr won both races in a guest appearance in the Pacific series. Things were made harder for everyone when the 30 minute practice session took place on a wet track, with Esteban Gutierrez setting the pace.
In a qualifying session that took place in dry conditions at night it was Jolyon Palmer who led the way and looked poised for his first GP2 pole. However, Chilton then managed to better his fellow Englishman’s effort by six tenths of a second.
The Carlin man’s time wasn’t unbeatable though, as Filippi quickly pipped him by just over half a tenth. The session was then red flagged with just over a minute remaining when Nigel Melker crashed under the grandstand at turn 18, preventing anyone else from posting a faster time and therefore securing Filippi top spot.
Gutierrez managed to carry his pace across to qualifying and finish up third, 0.464s off Filippi, to demote Palmer to fourth. Fabio Leimer was fifth, ahead of points leader Davide Valsecchi. Johnny Cecotto and Stefano Coletti will share the fourth row of the grid ahead of Luiz Razia, who has plenty of work to do to close the 25 point gap to Valsecchi after only qualifying ninth.
Sergio Canamasas completed the top ten ahead of Stephane Richelmi and Nathanael Berthon, while Nasr, Giedo van der Garde, James Calado, Haryanto and Marcus Ericsson will all be disappointed with their starting positions from 13th through to 17th.
The feature race takes place in the relative daylight of 16:00 local time, or 09:00 UK time, live on Sky Sports F1.