Monaco: Friday qualifying report

Hamilton scores first pole in Monaco Lewis Hamilton has taken pole position for tomorrow's sole GP2 series race in Monaco after dominating today's qualifying session. The ART Grand Prix driver was one of the first on track at the start of a busy...

Hamilton scores first pole in Monaco

Lewis Hamilton has taken pole position for tomorrow's sole GP2 series race in Monaco after dominating today's qualifying session. The ART Grand Prix driver 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. He will be joined on the front row of tomorrow's grid by Franck Perera (Dams) with Gimmi Bruni (Trident Racing) third and Alex Prémat (ART Grand Prix) fourth.

As the cars set off for their first laps of the session, it was Lewis who was instantly on the pace setting the benchmark at 1:21.748 on his first tour, before improving to 1:21.044 on the very next lap. He might have even cut more into his time on his third lap but was caught in traffic... a factor which would become critical as the 26 cars all attempted to set their times on the tight, narrow streets of the Principality.

With ten minutes gone Giorgio Pantano's FMS International car ground to a halt before Rascasse, bringing out the red flags for the first of two occasions. While everyone else took time to breath, Giorgio retrieved his seat and rushed back to his team. The order saw Lewis up front, followed by Franck, Alex and Olivier Pla (DPR Direxiv.) As the cars got back on their way once Giorgio's stranded ride had been removed, Olivier jumped up to second with Gimmi third and Durango's Lucas di Grassi fourth. Hamilton meanwhile was flying, lowering the lead time to a 1:20.606.

The second red flag of the session was shown with half the session remaining as Jason Tahinci (FMS International) spun at Mirabeau and Fairuz Fauzy (Super Nova International) did the same at Massenet. Their cars unharmed, they made their way back to the pits, but no sooner had the session restarted than it looked as if yet more red flags would be needed. Ernesto Viso (iSport International) took too much speed into Ste Devote and finished his day in the wall and as his car rebounded back onto the track, Olivier had nowhere to go but into the Venezuelan, ending his session in the process.

But with waved yellows sufficient to clear the wreckage, the pace was soon red hot once again. Gimmi went second fastest before Franck took back his front row spot on a 1:20.717. It was the closest anyone would get to Lewis, and in the final minutes the Briton set his fastest lap of the day for good measure a staggering 1:20.430.

So Lewis took his first GP2 series pole position ahead of Franck, with Gimmi third and Alex fourth. Olivier will start fifth alongside his team-mate and local hero Clivio Piccione, with Adam Carroll (Racing Engineering) seventh, the Campos Racing pair of Adrián Válles and Félix Porteiro eighth and ninth respectively, and Andreas Zuber tenth for Trident Racing.

1st Lewis Hamilton ART Grand Prix.1:20.430
"It's just great for us because it's a great weekend, a fantastic place, the atmosphere is awesome and the team have been working so hard, so we deserve this pole. We had pole last time but we had it taken away, so it's about time we took a pole and kept it!"

2nd Franck Perera Dams. +0.287
"It was good, but I made a big mistake at the last corner and I nearly crashed! But I think the pole was there for us: Hamilton and I were a big step in front of the other cars, so we'll see tomorrow."

3rd Gimmi Bruni Trident Racing. +0.725
"It was the quickest first sector, two tenths off Lewis in the second, so I should have been on the front row, but that's Monaco: for everyone it's a lottery. But it's a good starting point for tomorrow."

-gp2-

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About this article
Series FIA F2
Drivers Giorgio Pantano , Lewis Hamilton , Adam Carroll , Clivio Piccione , Fairuz Fauzy , Jason Tahinci , Olivier Pla , Adrian Valles , Felix Porteiro , Lucas di Grassi , Andreas Zuber , Ernesto Viso , Franck Perera
Teams ART Grand Prix , Trident , Campos Racing