Championship leader Stoffel Vandoorne continued his sensational start to the 2015 GP2 Series season by claiming a record-breaking pole position in Austria on Friday.
Vandoorne managed to edge out ART Grand Prix teammate Nobuharu Matsushita by 0.089 seconds at the end of the qualifying session with a fine final lap that left the rest of the field reeling.
The result marked the Belgian driver’s seventh pole position in GP2, which now stands as a new all-time record in the series.
Seven poles is impressive enough, but it is made all the more stunning by the fact that they have come in the last eight races. Vandoorne’s first GP2 pole was in Belgium last year, and he has started on pole at every race since then with the exception of Monaco last month.
“Today was another good day for us,” Vandoorne said. “It’s good to be back on pole position after missing it out in Monaco. Practice was quite good this morning. I felt I had a good pace. I had a bit of bad luck with traffic and we tried different setups as well.
“We knew the direction to take in qualifying this afternoon. Everything played out pretty well. On the first run, it was about learning about the super-soft tres. It’s the first time we have them here. It was a bit new for everybody.
“We could do more push laps than expected. For the second run, we tried to put everything in place and it was good enough for another pole position”
Vandoorne will now be looking to extend his sizeable championship lead in the feature race on Saturday, but will have to remain wary of Matsushita just behind. Red Bull junior driver Pierre Gasly qualified third ahead of Rapax’s Sergey Sirotkin, whilst Rio Haryanto rounded out the top five.
American driver Alexander Rossi struggled to find any pace due to a brake problem, leaving him 12th on the grid for tomorrow’s race.