Schilke, GP2 correspondent
Davide Valsecchi was fastest in the morning free practice session and the Italian wasted no time in laying down a flying hot lap to snatch his second pole of the 2012 season. The GP2 Series arrived in Bahrain for their second round of competition this year after sitting idle since the season opener in Malaysia.
Taking his DAMS team car to a time of 1:41.200 in the early part of the qualifying session, Valsecchi could have actually parked it as no one came close enough to threaten him.
Today, we were the best. I’m really happy.
“I’m really happy today. It feels that today I deserve this pole more than the one in Sepang because there, I was a bit lucky because it was really close. Today, we were the best. I’m really happy. Tomorrow is another day. We need to prove that we have what it takes to stay at the front,” smiled Valsecchi.
Lotus GP’s Esteban Gutiérrez was shy by 0.279 seconds of earning the pole, but he will start on the front row with his best lap of 1:41.479.
"We were fighting for pole definitely but in the end, I am still happy with this result because this is where we belong," stated Gutiérrez. "In Malaysia, it was very tough. I made a mistake in Free Practice and then that was it. I did not know the track and it was not enough for qualifying. So today, I made sure that I would have the time to learn the track during free practice. And then I made a good performance during qualifying. And we are now in a good position for the start of the race which will make a big difference for the rest of the weekend."
Felipe Nasr was third in his sister DAMS car with his best lap of 1:41.785 on the (3.363 miles) Sakhir circuit.
"I have to say that I am really happy with this result today," said Nasr. "I had a great car: the team did a super job to put both cars in front. It’s only my second GP2 race weekend there is still a lot to learn about the Series, the car, the tyres, but it’s a big improvement. For sure, to be starting the weekend like this is very positive. So I am pretty confident for the rest of the weekend."
Rounding out the top five were Fabio Leimer (Racing Engineering) and Johnny Cecotto (Barwa Addax Team). Stéphane Richelmi (Trident Racing) was just edged out of the top five, while seventh fastest Marcus Ericsson (iSport International) will drop 10 spots from a penalty he picked up in Malaysia.