After losing his top lap in Barcelona`s qualifying session, Lewis Hamilton came back to score his first GP2 Series pole position on the streets of Monte Carlo. The Brit will lead the field to the green flag in tomorrow's first race in Monaco. The...
After losing his top lap in Barcelona`s qualifying session, Lewis Hamilton came back to score his first GP2 Series pole position on the streets of Monte Carlo. The Brit will lead the field to the green flag in tomorrow's first race in Monaco. The ART Grand Prix rookie was followed by another rookie in setting today's fastest times. Franck Perera who bested Italian racer Gianmaria Bruni.
In a session cut by red flags, Hamilton was one of the first on track at the start of a busy and disrupted session, and after setting the early pace was never headed.
"I am absolutely thrilled! We've been quick all day: second quickest this morning, and then in qualifying it was awesome. We made some changes and they were really good, and it's very close to how I want it, although we can still make a few changes, but in general it was really good to drive", the pole winner commented.
The British hope for a future seat in Formula One set 1m20s430 on his best lap as he and the other competitors searched and founded the limits of Monte Carlo's turns.
"Actually I clipped the wall on this lap and I lost some time at the chicane and one of the hairpins, because I braked too late in the chicane so it was quite an untidy lap, but I did a 1: 20.4 and someone said 'you've got pole' and I was really happy", explained Hamilton.
To manage the traffic on the track alongside with the red flags, it became so important for the set-up of the cars today in the qualifying session, an issue in which Hamilton and ART worked ahead of the rest.
"I think that was the best qualifying session I've had in terms of managing the traffic. Slow down at the beginning of the lap, because I know what people do, they slow down at the end of the lap, but I made sure I had a huge, huge gap each time, and I never had any traffic. I knew that we had some yellow flags on a few laps so I slowed down for a few laps and then I was fortunate to have clear laps", Hamilton said.
Hamilton`s confidence for Saturday`s race is high and has reasons to be: fastest on Friday practice, second this morning and pole position. "We're in a very good shape to take the win tomorrow: I had a very good practice start today, so tomorrow my start should be bloody good! So I'm hoping to be good at the start tomorrow, and then just bring it home. And I'm sure we will", he said.
Last year, Hamilton took victory in the Formula 3 Euroseries in Monaco and looks to repeat tomorrow, this time in the faster GP2 cars.
A place alongside the poleman on the front row was taken by Frenchman Perera, who also competed at Monaco in the F3 Euroseries last year. "I'm very satisfied, for the team especially, because I think all this season we have been competitive for the speed, but we have had a few problems and a few mistakes", he mentioned.
Like Hamilton, traffic in the twisty turns of Monaco was a situation that Perera handled in the right way and one of the reasons he scored second today.
"Our strategy was a bit different to all the other cars, so in the end I had only five laps and it was really a big risk for me: I couldn't do two laps together, and I had to stop a lot of times, and that's why in the end Hamilton could improve and I couldn't improve. But the first row is good: it's a good start", commented Perera.
It is the second time this season that Perera takes a front row start after second place in qualifying session at Nurburgring. The challenge for tomorrow is to take a strong result in the race, something that wasn`t on the side of the team so far on this year.
Third place on Saturday`s starting grid is for Bruni and the Trident Racing in another strong performance for the new team of the series.
"I am happy not just for the second row but for the way I got it. I have been fast for the whole session, only the traffic stole me the satisfaction to qualify one step ahead", Bruni remarked.
The first corner after the green lights could be crucial and the Italian knows it: "I will start from the right side of the track, it will be fundamental to pass the Saint Devote undamaged, and then I will do my best to bring home a good result", he said.
Second row will be completed with Alexandre Premat in the other car of ART Grand Prix. Third row has Olivier Pla and Cilvio Piccione -- in the best job of the season for the DPR Direxiv guys. Seventh place has last year`s winner in Monaco, Adam Carroll, followed by both Campos Racing drivers, Adrian Valles and Felix Porteiro, while Andreas Zuber closed up the top ten places with the second car of Trident Racing.
Nelson A. Piquet appears on 12th position in the grid, one and half seconds from the pole and will have a hard challenge to leave Monaco leading the standings.
In difference to the rest of the season events, in Monaco the GP2 will have one race that will start at 16.00 local time of tomorrow.