Pantano holds his nerve for Valencia pole Championship leader hangs on for top spot. Giorgio Pantano has put his Hungaroring disappointments behind him by taking pole in a frenetic qualifying session this afternoon in Valencia, claiming the...
Pantano holds his nerve for Valencia pole
Championship leader hangs on for top spot.
Giorgio Pantano has put his Hungaroring disappointments behind him by taking pole in a frenetic qualifying session this afternoon in Valencia, claiming the top spot despite constant pressure from Pastor Maldonado, Vitaly Petrov and Romain Grosjean to stretch out his lead in his championship battle with rival Bruno Senna, who could not qualify higher than eighth.
The Italian's best lap of 1:45.640 was set in the last minute of an enthralling session in scorching conditions, taking pole by just 0.071 after a fierce battle with his pursuers. Kamui Kobayashi opening proceedings with the first sub 1.50 lap on his first flying lap before losing the rear of his car and spinning into the wall at turn five, losing his front and rear wings and bringing out the red flags just as Pantano piped his time to set a strong banker lap before returning to the pits with the rest of the field.
With the track soon clear it was Bruno Senna who was trying to get his weekend started by claiming second on the timesheets, but Grosjean was determined to also lay his Hungarian demons to rest and almost immediately set the fastest lap of the session, starting a back and forth fight for the top spot between himself, Pantano and Maldonado, with all three drivers swapping the position for the remainder of the session.
Karun Chandhok went over the limit of adhesion halfway through the session at the same spot as Kobayashi had his accident, with the Indian driver doing well to stay off the wall as he spun around and stopped in the middle of the track: quick thinking marshals saved the day as they swarmed out to give him a push start, and thankfully the red flags were kept in their holders as he headed back to the pits.
Traffic was the undoing of many a good lap, with Luca Filippi, Lucas di Grassi and Bruno Senna all losing better laps than they brought home, and when Grosjean was held up on his final flying lap Pantano's pole position was assured. Behind the top four Andreas Zuber, Jer