GP2 Series Leader Stoffel Vandoorne was denied pole position by Williams F1 test driver Alex Lynn. The twenty two-year-old was able to snatch pole ahead of the McLaren Honda protégé and Racing Engineering driver Alexander Rossi with a fastest time of 2:01.850.
“It’s really nice to be on pole,” commented poleman, Lynn. “On the outlap I could feel that the car was really, really good. Then it was all about doing my job; not making any mistakes and get a clean lap. So the rest of the session just became about making sure I did that one lap at the right time and I think it was just at the right time: the track was at its best, and the tyres were at their best. Luckily it was enough to finish it off.”
At a wet and cool Sochi Autodrom, the DAMS driver was able to claim the front row whilst Vandoorne misjudged his final running meaning he had to settle for second after he was fastest during Friday morning’s free practice session.
“The conditions changed dramatically in the afternoon and we had a wet track for qualifying. It’s always a bit difficult to know what is going to happen,” said the Series Leader, Vandoorne.
“It stopped raining at the end and the track was drying up. I tried to push with every lap but it was not enough. In the end, overall it’s been a pretty okay qualifying. I’m a bit disappointed to finish second with a small margin behind Alex [Lynn].”
Rossi, who competed for Manor Marussia F1 Team in Singapore and Japan, finished third ahead of Lynn’s DAMS teammate Pierre Gasly, who had held provisional pole on a number of occasions throughout the thirty minute session. Campos Racing driver Arthur Pic, was behind his fellow Frenchman in fifth after he crossed the line with a time of 2:02.450s.
Johnny Cecotto, who announced he will retire from GP2, finished the damp session in sixth, ahead of Raffaele Marciello. Just behind the Italian was New Zealand’s Richie Stanaway in the Status Grand Prix car.
Norman Nato finished the session in ninth whilst Sergey Sirotkin completed the Top Ten at the chequered flag for his home Grand Prix.
Further down the order, Jordan King, who will start Saturday’s race in 14th, and Robert Visoiu, in 23rd, both carry penalties over from the previous race in Monza.