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Hülkenberg grabs Valencia pole

Nico Hülkenberg defied the blistering conditions to continue where he left off this morning and claim pole position for Saturday's race one in Valencia, ahead of title rivals Vitaly Petrov and Lucas di Grassi.

The German was at the sharp end of the timesheets throughout the session, but his best lap of 1 minute 45.025 seconds set late in the period put him four tenths ahead of his rivals and, when Petrov was struck down with an electrical gremlin and had to stop in the pits, the war was over.

Luca Filippi and di Grassi set the early running, but normal service soon returned as Petrov and Hülkenberg made the battle their own.

Indeed the pair seemed to be on a different circuit to their rivals, who were unable to get close to the laps the title contenders were pulling in.

Filippi looked to get a jump on the field by getting out early on fresh tyres while the others sat in the pits, but the plan failed when he had a heavy shunt at turn 20, shattering his car and bringing out the red flags.

Thankfully he was unhurt, but the rest of the field had to sit in the oppressive heat of their cars while the track was cleared.

The remaining bunch then sprinted out, with most improving their times, including Hülkenberg. Petrov looked to be catching him until he unexpectedly returned to the pits, and after a call onto the weighbridge was unable to restart the car due to an electrical problem.

Hülkenberg continued to circulate after that in case of emergency, but as the clock ran out the pole was his.

Behind the top three Sergio Perez returned to form with a fine fourth place, just ahead of Roldan Rodriguez, Alvaro Parente, Dani Clos and Karun Chandhok, but with the three title contenders in the first three positions it's fair to say that tomorrow all eyes will be glued to the front of the grid as the lights go out.

To see the full qualifying times click here



Related Pictures

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Nico Hulkenberg - ART Grand Prix  [pic credit: GP2]
2015 GP3 Series Round 5. Spa-Francorchamps, Spa, Belgium. Sunday 23 August 2015. Luca Ghiotto (ITA, Trident), celebrates on the podium with Esteban Ocon (FRA, ART Grand Prix) and 4. Photo: Sam Bloxham/GP3 Series Media Service
Spa-Francorchamps, Spa, Belgium. Saturday 22 August 2015. Race One Press Conference. Emil Bernstorff (GBR, Arden International), Esteban Ocon (FRA, ART Grand Prix) and Marvin Kirchhofer (GER, ART Grand Prix). Photo: Zak Mauger/GP3 Series Media Service.
Spa-Francorchamps, Spa, Belgium. Saturday 22 August 2015. Esteban Ocon (FRA, ART Grand Prix) celebrates his win in Parc Ferme. Photo: Sam Bloxham/GP3 Series Media Service
Spa-Francorchamps, Spa, Belgium. Saturday 22 August 2015. Esteban Ocon (FRA, ART Grand Prix), leads Emil Bernstorff (GBR, Arden International), Kevin Ceccon (ITA, Arden International) and the rest of the field at the start of the race. Photo: Zak Mauger/GP3 Series Media Service.
2015 GP3 Series Round 5. Spa-Francorchamps, Spa, Belgium. Saturday 22 August 2015. Esteban Ocon (FRA, ART Grand Prix), leads Kevin Ceccon (ITA, Arden International), Luca Ghiotto (ITA, Trident), Emil Bernstorff (GBR, Arden International) and the rest of the field at the start. Photo: Sam Bloxham/GP3 Series Media Service
2015 GP2 Series Round 7. Spa-Francorchamps, Spa, Belgium. Saturday 22 August 2015. Stoffel Vandoorne (BEL, ART Grand Prix) celebrates his win on the podium. Photo: Sam Bloxham/GP2 Media Service
2015 GP2 Series Round 7. Spa-Francorchamps, Spa, Belgium. Saturday 22 August 2015. Stoffel Vandoorne (BEL, ART Grand Prix) celebrates his win on the podium. Photo: Sam Bloxham/GP2 Media Service
2015 GP2 Series Round 7. Spa-Francorchamps, Spa, Belgium. Saturday 22 August 2015. Stoffel Vandoorne (BEL, ART Grand Prix) celebrates his win in Parc Ferme. Photo: Sam Bloxham/GP2 Media Service
2015 GP2 Series Round 7. Spa-Francorchamps, Spa, Belgium. Saturday 22 August 2015. Stoffel Vandoorne (BEL, ART Grand Prix) celebrates his win in Parc Ferme. Photo: Sam Bloxham/GP2 Media Service
2015 GP2 Series Round 7. Spa-Francorchamps, Spa, Belgium. Saturday 22 August 2015. Stoffel Vandoorne (BEL, ART Grand Prix) celebrates his win in Parc Ferme. Photo: Sam Bloxham/GP2 Media Service
2015 GP2 Series Round 7. Spa-Francorchamps, Spa, Belgium. Saturday 22 August 2015. Stoffel Vandoorne (BEL, ART Grand Prix) crosses the line to take the win. Photo: Sam Bloxham/GP2 Media Service
2015 GP2 Series Round 7. Spa-Francorchamps, Spa, Belgium. Saturday 22 August 2015. Sergey Sirotkin (RUS, Rapax) leads Stoffel Vandoorne (BEL, ART Grand Prix) Oliver Rowland (GBR, MP Motorsport) and the rest of the field at the start. Photo: Sam Bloxham/GP2 Media Service
2015 GP2 Series Round 7. Spa-Francorchamps, Spa, Belgium. Saturday 22 August 2015. Stoffel Vandoorne (BEL, ART Grand Prix) leads Oliver Rowland (GBR, MP Motorsport), and the rest of the field at the start. Photo: Sam Bloxham/GP2 Media Service
2015 GP3 Series Round 5. Spa-Francorchamps, Spa, Belgium. Friday 21 August 2015. Marvin Kirchhofer (GER, ART Grand Prix) Photo: Sam Bloxham/GP3 Media Service
Spa-Francorchamps, Spa, Belgium. Saturday 22 August 2015. Qualifying Press Conference. Esteban Ocon (FRA, ART Grand Prix), Luca Ghiotto (ITA, Trident) and Marvin Kirchhofer (GER, ART Grand Prix). Photo: Zak Mauger/GP3 Series Media Service.
2015 GP2 Series Round 7. Spa-Francorchamps, Spa, Belgium. Friday 21 August 2015. Stoffel Vandoorne (BEL, ART Grand Prix) Photo: Zak Mauger/GP2 Series Media
2015 GP2 Series Round 7. Spa-Francorchamps, Spa, Belgium. Friday 21 August 2015. Stoffel Vandoorne (BEL, ART Grand Prix) Photo: Sam Bloxham/GP2 Media Service

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