It was a warm morning as the GP2 cars took to the track for the 45 minute Free Practice session with air and track temperatures of 27.8° and 31.6° respectively and Alexander Rossi was immediately running quickly, going second fastest with a lap of 1:42.158s with Jordan King only a little slower in 6th position. Alexander soon improved to 1:41.616s and on his seventh lap he went fastest with a time of 1:41.180s. After twenty minutes both drivers returned to the pits for some changes to the setup of their cars and, on returning to the track, Jordan went 8thwith a time of 1:41.529s. The final half of the session saw most of the teams working on their race setups so there were no changes to the earlier lap times and Alexander remained at the top of the timing sheet.
The thirty minute Qualifying session saw the track temperature up to 33.8° and Alexander was one of the first cars on the ! track and he was immediately on the pace going fastest on his first flying lap with a time of 1:41.220s but the lap times were falling fast and Jordan jumped to the top of the times with a lap of 1:40.217s which he then improved to 140:026s. After ten minutes of the session Alexander returned to the pits earlier than planned as he had a flat spot on his first set of tyres, so a new set of Pirelli soft compound tyres were fitted and final adjustments made. Jordan pitted a few minutes later to also make some setup changes and to have a fresh set of tyres.
With fifteen minutes remaining Alexander returned to the track and, taking advantage of a clear track, he immediately improved his best time to 1:40.141s. Jordan was back in action again with nine minutes still to go and he made also improved to 1:39.902s to lie 5th. With no further improvements by either man the two Racing Engineering drivers, Jordan and Alexander, finished 5th and 9threspectively.
Alan Queille, Team Engineer:
“Mixed feelings after today’s qualifying, it was a positive session for Jordan and could have even been better seeing his pace on the first set of tyres. For Alex, though, the session was a bit disappointing, especially after being fastest in free practice. We are still looking into what happened during his run on the first set of tyres. We are preparing for tomorrow’s race now where the goal is clearly to score good points with both drivers so Alex can take the runner-up spot in the championship and we can increase the gap to our chasers in the Teams Championship.”
“I was happy with the first lap on the first set, where I was P1. Then my next few laps were still good, but I felt there was still room in some areas to be able to challenge a little closer to the front. But overall this was a positive session and I am looking forward to a good race.”
“I had quite a big flat spot on the first set of tyres and that meant we couldn’t do a competitive lap. We didn’t have much of a benchmark for the second set and you only get one lap on the tyres. For sure it wasn’t the optimum, but we are still in a good position for tomorrow.”