I completely overslept this morning! Anyway, championship leader Mirko Bortolotti is on pole for the F2 race this afternoon. That’s his second of the season, having taken pole in the first round at Silverstone. Second is Romanian Mihai Marinescu, which is his best of the season so far. Third is Will Bratt, who took the pole at the second Spa race and is currently fourth in the championship. In fourth is Alex Brundle, who had a rough weekend at Spa and is only sixth in the championship and 60 points behind Bortolotti.
Christopher Zanella took a disappointing seventh, while the suberb 17-year-old rookie Jordan King again managed the top 10 to start 9th. He’ll be one to watch in the future. And by the future I mean this afternoon.
In Formula Renault 3.5, pole was taken by Jean-Eric Vergne for Carlin. The French driver struggled at the last race with a retirement in the first round, and is joint second in the championship 30 points behind teammate Wickens.
Second and third are both surprises. Spaniard Sergio Canamasas is 18th in the championship, and his best finish is 8th. But he’s in P2. Russian Daniil Move is 11th in the championship with a best finish of third but mostly low finishes. He starts P3. In fourth is Brendon Hartley, fifth is Alexander Rossi, and Daniel Ricciardo – 43 points behind Wickens with 8 races to go – qualifies sixth. Can he really make up for missing out on the first race? Wickens starts 11th.
Italian Mirko Bortolotti took provisional pole today for the first race at a soggy Spa. He qualified 1.3s ahead of the nearest competitor Ramon Pineiro, with Alex Brundle in third and Christopher Zanella fourth. However, he was then penalised for going too fast with yelow flags waving so now Pineiro and Brundle will share the front row. Jon Lancaster is again notable by his absence, the cause of which I am unable to determine. I am concerned that something serious has happened, since if it had just been a car failure they surely would have mentioned something by now. Neither Mun, Kralev or Sureshwaren set reasonable qualifying times, but will hopefully still be able to race.
In GP3, plenty of different drivers took the chance to lead the session including Mitch Evans and Adrian Quaiffe-Hobbs. But in the end it was Evans’ Arden teammate Lewis Williamson who took his first pole position. Arden have a good lineup for 2011 with a pair of strong rookie drivers who taken two of the three pole positions this season. Second and third were two other Brits: Dean Smith and Adrian Quaiffe-Hobbs. Evans was fourth, then Vainio, Sims, Dillmann, Chaves, Bottas and Calado, with Sims and Chaves both recovering despite a collision. The final qualifying positions are as ever subject to penalties.
Finally, a brief word to say that Takuma Sato has taken his first IndyCar pole. So far the best Japanese F1 driver, Sato has been doing reasonably well in IndyCar as well, though sometimes his races have been muddled by his team’s poor strategy choices.
For some reason F2 qualifying 2 always seems to take place right before I need to leave on a Sunday. Anyway, in qualifying today the front row again turned out to be Brundle and Zanella. In this case, however, it was Zanella who took pole. There were 0.057s between the two drivers. Alex Brundle is looking like a serious competitor for the championship. Hopefully, Silverstone will be his only problematic race this season. Bratt and Lancaster were the other two Brits in the top 10, taking P7 and P8, with Clarke in P11.
The front row remained that way throughout the race. Lancaster, Bratt and Clarke all finished in the top 10, with Ramon Pineiro falling backwards to finish 9th. Zanella now leads the championship, with Bortolotti maintaining second. Brundle has pushed his way from 24th to 5th in two days. The young British driver has definitely put Silverstone behind him.
Next F2 race is Spa, 24th-26th June, which is the same weekend as the European Grand Prix in Valencia.
In GP3 news, according to Autosport magazine “Andrea Caldarelli has quit GP3 and will race with Formula Nippon instead.” This is confirmed by Italia Racing and Formula Nippon, where it can be seen that he is listed amongst the drivers. Indeed he has been driving in the series this weekend. It seems a strange move to me, because he is currently second in the GP3 championship. So Tech 1 could be looking for a new driver.
An exciting F2 qualifying session for the first race of the season put Mirko Bortolotti on pole for the first time in his F2 career, with rookie Miki Monras second. British boys Will Bratt and Alex Brundle lock out the second row, matching Brundle’s best-ever qualifying. Fast in practice, Ramon Pineiro was only able to come seventh in the session, while Natalia Kowalska stopped her car at Maggotts and finished 21st. The race is at 2pm today.