Istanbul: Qualifying report

Piquet Pole Cuts Championship Gap Nelson Piquet Jr has picked up from where he left off in Hungary three weeks ago by taking pole position for Saturday's GP2 series race in Istanbul. The Piquet Sports driver looked untouchable in the...

Piquet Pole Cuts Championship Gap

Nelson Piquet Jr has picked up from where he left off in Hungary three weeks ago by taking pole position for Saturday's GP2 series race in Istanbul. The Piquet Sports driver looked untouchable in the session, with his first flying lap handing him a time which was never beaten. Super Nova International's Jose Maria Lopez got the closest, shading the Brazilian by just 0.004 seconds, as Petrol Ofisi FMS International's Giorgio Pantano set the third fastest lap.

As has become his trademark this season, after a single exploratory outlap, Nelson sat in the pits as the session began, biding his time as his rivals, including Lewis, embarked on early laps to take advantage of the F1 rubber which had been laid down in today's two free practice sessions. It was Giorgio who proved to be the quickest of the early runners, but when Nelson came out with just under half of the session completed, he took almost a second out of the Italian's previous best to take provisional pole on a 1:34.741.

Try as they might however, nobody could touch the Brazilian. Jose was the first to make an impact, although his effort was seven tenths shy of Nelson's best, before Alex Premat cut the gap to 0.4 seconds. A few laps later and Giorgio took another tenth to sit second 0.3 behind Nelson. And with just five minutes remaining, Jose mustered all he could to take pole, but fell short by just four thousandths of a second.

With Lewis unable to do any better than fifth position, Nelson can take dual satisfaction from the results of today's qualifying session. Not only did his stunning lap net him two championship points and cut the gap to Lewis to nine, but he will start four places ahead of his season-long rival. But Lewis himself is far from a beaten man. He will start the race on the clean side of the track, and last time out in Hungary he displayed incredible racing acumen with a series of incredible overtaking manouevres to lift himself to the edge of the points-scoring positions having started last and endured a drive-through penalty, on the most difficult track on which to overtake of the season. Following the wonderful races we viewed in Istanbul in 2005, tomorrow's encounter looks set to be a classic.

1st Nelson Piquet Jr Piquet Sports.1:34.741 I think everything just went perfectly. The last few races have been going very well and the results have just come. I'll need to be cautious tomorrow, not to make any mistakes, not to go over the speed limit in the pits and just do a calm race and stay in front of Lewis.

2nd Jose Maria Lopez Super Nova International. +0.004 It was OK. You can always do better everybody can do better. I'll be pushing hard but I don't want to get involved in an accident. Nelson is fighting for the championship, so I'm not going to try anything stupid. I don't usually, and I'm not going to start now.

3rd Giorgio Pantano Petrol Ofisi FMS International. +0.327 I prefer to be third than second because in third we start on the clean side of the grid for the grid. I think we are very close, us three and the ART cars, and for sure it will be an interesting race. Tyre wear should be OK. We have the hard compound so I don't see any particular problems.

-credit: gp2series.com

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About this article
Series FIA F2
Drivers Giorgio Pantano , Nelson Piquet , Jose Maria Lopez