DAMS continued their run of pole positions as Pierre Gasly topped the GP2 Series Sakhir qualifying session by 0.04 seconds. The French driver looks to continue his strong end-of-season run, having scored a podium last time out in Russia. Alongside him will be newly crowned champion Stoffel Vandoorne.
As usual, all of the cars fed out of the pit lane as the light went green, with only Sergey Sirotkin holding back. Being at the front of the queue, Alexander Rossi quickly took the initiative, before Gasly put in some consistent lap times.
Soon it was Vandoorne who joined the party, being the first driver under the 1 minute 40 second mark. The field made their way back into the pits as Rossi, who’d pitted earlier went out to set a time in free air, but his first lap was not impressive.
With Rossi only up to fifth, the rest streamed out of the pits with 10 minutes to go. Soon it wasn’t just Vandoorne in the one minute 39 second mark as Gasly once again put in another impressive time, topping the session.
As the clock counted down, Vandoorne pitted while running second. Fortunately, none of his close rivals were improving, allowing Gasly to take pole by 0.04 seconds over Vandoorne. While behind them, a late charge had seen Raffaele Marciello move into third. Rossi was demoted to ninth.
A strong day for both DAMS cars saw Alex Lynn take fourth just in front of Jordan King. Both British drivers had had vastly contrasting feature races when they were last at the circuit in April. A confident drive from Lynn had soon been smashed after issues with tyres.
One driver who’d ended the last Bahrain feature race in a worse state was Norman Nato. However; he looked to put the record straight, even running second for part of the session. Unfortunately, he fell back slightly at the finish, meaning he starts tomorrow’s race from sixth, with Mitch Evans and Nobuharu Matsushita behind.
After qualifying, Gasly spoke to the media, saying; “I’m really happy about this results today, especially for the team, but also for me because it was a tough season: the first part was not what we expected and we worked all through the rest of the season and now we’re starting to get the reward.”
“I will say that I’m really happy about this pole today. I’m already focus on tomorrow because we know that on this track the tyre degradation is really high and that’s going to be a big challenge.”