RUSSIAN TIME driver quickest in qualifying
Sam Bird is a happy man: the Brit was quickest in today’s qualification in Spa pocketing his first pole position of the season with a laptime of 1:56.957 set in the first ten minutes of the session. Fabio Leimer and James Calado completed the top 3.
The session opened under blue skies and on a dry track which meant all twenty-six drivers could put their Pirelli Soft tyres to the test of the Belgium track. Johnny Cecotto set the early pace, but Marcus Ericsson bettered the Venezuelan’s time to claim top spot. Calado improved as well and went four tenths quicker than the Swede. It was then Leimer’s turn to go fastest, one tenth better than the Brit.
However, Bird put his head down and found the extra pace to sit pretty at the top of the timing sheet with a laptime two tenths quicker than the Swiss. At the mid-session and as the drivers returned to the pits for a fresh pair of rubbers, Bird, Leimer and Calado were still top three ahead of Alexander Rossi and Jolyon Palmer.
When the action resumed, Leimer improved slightly, but not enough to dethrone Bird who bagged pole at the chequered flag. Calado was unable to better his personal best and remained third. In the final stages of the session, Marcus Ericsson managed to move up to P4 ahead of Rossi. Nathanaël Berthon, Palmer Stéphane Richelmi, Sergio Canmasas (who will be dropped ten places following a grid penalty picked up in Budapest Sprint Race) and Felipe Nasr completed the top ten.