Nico Rosberg has decided to leave Hungary with the lead in the GP2 series championship, and he started in the best possible way by setting the fastest lap in qualifying. with nearly a one-second gap over Neel Jani and 1.1s over Heikki ...
Nico Rosberg has decided to leave Hungary with the lead in the GP2 series championship, and he started in the best possible way by setting the fastest lap in qualifying. with nearly a one-second gap over Neel Jani and 1.1s over Heikki Kovalainen, the standings leader.
The ART Grand Prix driver set 1m31.459 in the beggining of the qualifying session and it was impossible for the rest of the field to get close to him.
However, the times of Rosberg and teammate Alexander Premat were disqualified due to an illegal steering rack position. The two will start 23rd and 24th, giving Jani the pole position.
"This morning I have to say that my car was so good, and now when there is so much grip on the track it was incredible. It can change a lot between sessions, and a car which is maybe quick on a dirty track is not always quick on a cleaner track", Nico commented.
In spite of taking a almost a second over Jani today, the gap with his teammate, Alexander Premat, was more important to Rosberg. "It`s important for me the gap to my teammate -- that's what is important, because he's really good -- he won everything last year", he said.
Jani's pole position is his first in GP2 so far. "I have to say it was always the place we belonged", he said of his second-fastest time.
The Swiss set his fastest lap when it rested seven minutes to the end of the session with his second set of tires. "On my first set I did a lap which was not bad, but I caught up to Lopez, who caught up to Bruni, who caught up to Kovalainen slowing down I think, so we just lost a bit there. But then I put on my second set, and luckily I could improve", Jani explained.
The Super Nova driver set 1m32.457 that put him at 0.998 of polesitter Rosberg, and the gap is something to worry about: "That's quite a lot -- if you go from me backwards for one second there are nearly twenty cars or so".
Saturday`s race seems to be the best opportunity for Jani to take his first podium in the series. So far, two times fourth in Spain and France is the best job for him.
Kovalainen wants to erase his memories of Hockenheim of a week ago with a strong pace in Budapest and second place today is a good way of start it. "It was one of the best qualifying sessions of the year, to be honest - I have been once on pole position and once in third before, so it's not too bad", he mentioned.
Kovalainen thinks he might get front row if the track conditions would be better. "I could probably have had second (fastest time) -- on my first lap there was a yellow flag on the second sector and I didn't get to set my time until my second lap on my first set, so there was maybe a couple of tenths or so there".
The gap with Rosberg, his direct rival in the fight for the championship, doesn`t seem to be a problem for the Arden driver: "I'm not worrying about it too much - we just have to concentrate on our own thing, and if we're happy with the balance and we can't beat them then we'll have to look for something else".
The high temperature is a classic in the Hungaroring, but Kovalainen can manage it. "It's no problem. I feel pretty comfortable, and I don't have any problems at all with the heat", he commented.
Giorgio Pantano, Scott Speed, Premat, Hiroshi Yoshimoto, Ernesto Viso, Gianmaria Bruni and Olivier Pla completed the top ten in qualifying.
The standings has Kovalainen in the lead with 69 points, closely followed by Rosberg with 63. Speed still in good position with 50, while Adam Carroll, 34; Gianmaria Bruni, 33 and Alexander Premat with 32 completes top six.