By: Nancy Knapp Schilke
- 1st GP2 pole for Razia and Malaysian team
- Filippi on front row, Ericsson 3rd fastest
- Points leader qualified 5th
Luiz Razia grabs maiden pole for himself and Team AirAsia in closing minutes of GP2 qualifying on Hungaroring circuit
The Caterham Team AirAsia team from Malaysia were celebrating as if they won their homeland race even though they are in Hungary; but who could blame them after Luiz Razia sent shockwaves through the GP2 Series paddock. The 22-year old Brazilian just earned his and the team’s first GP2 Series pole, and he did it in the closing minutes of qualifying in Budapest. It was not easy as the times for the top drivers were very close. Luca Filippi missed the pole winning time by 0.140 seconds. Marcus Ericsson was third fastest.
“I think we’ve been working for three years to get here (Laughs). No, it was hard work especially since the level is so high in GP2. It’s incredible. We did a good job today,” said Razia in the post-qualifying press conference. “I’m really happy. Everybody who takes pole is happy, right? Let’s hope that tomorrow will be clean as well and we stay in front.”
Drive it like you stole it!
Razia’s fastest lap on the 4.381 km Hungaroring circuit was a 1:30.411, and it was not the first time in the 30 minute session that he was on top of the speed charts. On a warm day with a dry track, it was points leader Romain Grosjean for the DAMS team that laid down the first flying lap that the others gave chase to which Razia promptly did by a margin of just 0.02 seconds.
“On my first set of tyres, I felt that the car was really good and I told myself 'this is the time to get the pole position of your life, man. Drive it like you stole it'!" laughed Razia.
With the Frenchman second and aiming for the pole, as were the other top contenders, it was time for fresh tires. It was Scuderia Coloni’s Filippi who immediately took the top spot thanks to a clear track with a 1:30.551 followed by Giedo Van der Garde for the Barwa Addax Team with a 1:30.760 just past the midway mark. However while others were ready to answer the Italian’s hot lap, the traffic played a factor.
“We found a good balance and a good speed and I was first after the first stint so I was waiting a little bit to see if people were improving,” Filippi stated.
Van der Garde ended up with mechanical woes and limped back to the pits. The Dutchman returned with just minutes remaining but had to stick with his earlier fast lap, placing him seventh on the grid. At the same time, Grosjean’s best lap of 1:30.746 listed him third but while others improved, the Frenchman did not and he ended up fifth fastest.
Charles Pic was one who quietly improved his time during the last part of the session, moving his Barwa Addax Team car up to fourth fastest with a 1:30.742.
Ericsson found a slightly cleared track on one of his laps and was able to clock a 1:30.557 in his iSport International ride. That placed the Swedish driver second at the time, just 0.006 seconds off the provisional pole held by Filippi. Both dropped down a slot when Razia found an even clearer track and was able to lay down a flying lap time that even Filippi could not beat.
“On the second set of tyres, I did my best lap on my first fast lap where I had the most grip. Congratulations to the team. They did a great job. We are still learning: it’s a new car, new tyres. I think everybody is getting there. I’m really pleased,” Razia commented.
Ericsson was happy with third as he commented, “I have had some good weekends now and I’ve been struggling all year with the qualifying and to be P3 today is a great achievement and a great step forward. The car has been quick in qualifying conditions which my teammate has shown. I have not been able to do what the car was capable of until now. I’m really pleased for that. I have been in good form for the last couple of weekends and I’m really looking forward to tomorrow.”
On Filippi’s final tour of the circuit, he was on a flyer and might have stolen the pole but the yellow flags were shown when Super Nova Racing’s driver Adam Carroll spun.
“When it was time to take to the track again, the traffic was fine, but I had a yellow flag. I felt the car was very good and had a really good grip. Obviously, you can think I could have improved, but you never know because you need to finish the lap first,” said Filippi. “But I am pleased because it’s not so common to have two front rows in a row (Laughs). And the team is very happy. For tomorrow I think we can really fight again for a good result.”
It was not the best qualifying for the Lotus ART team with Jules Bianchi taking the sixth fastest time at 1:30.752 and his teammate Esteban Gutierrez back in ninth. Fabio Leimer slotted eighth best lap time in his Rapax car, leaving iSport’s Sam Bird 10th fastest.
As usual post qualifying penalties were handed out and taking a double hit was the pole winner’s teammate, Davide Valsecchi who will start in the final position for Saturday’s Feature race. He already had a 10 grid penalty after the Nurburgring race last Sunday. Today’s was given by the stewards because “he impeded Grosjean on the final laps of qualifying today. The same type of penalty was handed to Adam Carroll who was faulted for 'impeding Stefano Coletti' and thus will lose three grid positions for tomorrow’s race.
See also Qualifyig Results