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Van der Garde tops wild Monaco qualifying

Giedo van der Garde will start from pole for the second consecutive feature race, after surviving a wild qualifying session that caught up many of the big names in major crashes.
Giedo van der Garde proved that Barwa Addax's form in Barcelona - which saw them claim a 1-2 finish in the feature race - was no fluke as he put the #4 car on pole position again for the second consecutive GP2 feature race.

But it was almost a matter of survival of the fittest, as the half hour qualifying session saw a red flag and multiple incidents including collisions between two separate sets of team mates as drivers fought to get in a clear lap in heavy traffic.

Perhaps sensing that there was trouble ahead on this hot and sunny afternoon on Monaco, Charles Pic was waiting at the pit lane exit when the track went green, and was closely pursued by Fabio Leimer. Soon after, the track was packed with cars and finding room to set a quick time was at a high premium.

After hitting traffic at La Rascasse first time through, Luca Filippi managed to put in an early flying lap - which was just as well as immediately afterwards he lost control into Ste Devote, clipped the barriers and stopped on track going up to Casino just eight minutes into the session, bringing out yellow flag for the next five minutes while the car was removed - he would play no further part in the afternoon.

Local boy Stefano Coletti had briefly been top of the time sheets in the early minutes, but had dropped down by the midpoint of the session when he found himself coming up behind Leimer at Rascasse. Coletti made a very odd and inadvisable move down the inside of the Rapax #1 and a collision was inevitable, forcing the track officials to throw a red flag to enable a clean up of the mess. That ruined Sam Bird's efforts as he had just posted a fastest time through section one.

The traffic problems had meant that several big names had not yet been able to set times within the 107 per cent range of pole: Luiz Razia, Esteban Gutierrez and Michael Herck were still to set a fast time, as was the man who had topped the morning practice with contemptuous ease. Romain Grosjean had ended up making contact with Fairuz Fauzy at Rascasse on his first run and ended up having to pit for a new front wing, and then got stuck in traffic in the final part of his second run after setting a fastest time through the first section.

Jules Bianchi was top of the timesheets when racing resumed after the red flag (although he still faces a five place grid penalty for causing an accident at the start of last Sunday's Barcelona sprint race) and it was several minutes until he was deposed by Alvaro Parente, still sitting in for Christian Vietrois in the Racing Engineering car.

Bianchi reclaimed the top spot in the final seconds of the session, but then Sam Bird topped that time by a little over a tenth of a second before he too was upstaged, this time by van der Garde - which was to prove the unbeatable time of the afternoon. Both van der Garde and Bird had been lucky to get away after earlier on-track collisions: the Dutchman needed a new front wing after contact with Oliver Turvey, while Bird and Dani Clos tangled at Anthony Noghes amid confusion over a blue flag being shown to the Briton, forcing the Spaniard into the pits for a new front wing.

As the clock ticked down, there was had been a spate of big crashes toward the end of the session, none bigger - or more controversial - than the crash between Dams team mates Grosjean and Pal Varhaug. Varhaug had slowed through Rascasse as he came up on traffic, only for Grosjean to arrive on the scene at speed and ride straight over his team mate's rear wheel, launching him up and over to land on top of the other car. It was a mess, which was remarkably efficiently dealt with by the stewards to allow the field to finish qualifying, but it left Grosjean unable to resume and still without a time inside the requisite 107 per cent - although it's unlikely that he will be excluded from the race given his morning pace and general proven capability.




Related Pictures

Click on relevant pic to enlarge
Romain Grosjean (FRA, Dams) who was among those penalised for causing an accident during the qualifying session. 2011 GP2 Series. Round 3. Monte Carlo, Monaco. 26th May 2011. Thursday Qualifying. [Picture credit: Charles Coates/GP2 Media Service.]
Sam Bird (GBR, iSport International) in his car on the streets of Monaco. 2011 GP2 Series. Round 3. Monte Carlo, Monaco. 26th May 2011. [Picture credit: Andrew Ferraro/GP2 Media Service.]
2011 GP2 Series - Giedo Van der Garde (NED, Barwa Addax Team). [Picture credit: Alastair Staley/GP2 Media Service.]
Adrian Quaife-Hobbs (GBR, Rapax) at the Hungaroring, Budapest, Hungary. Friday 25 July 2014. (Photo: Sam Bloxham/GP2 Series Media Service.)
Stoffel Vandoorne (BEL, ART Grand Prix) celebrates at Hungaroring, Budapest, Hungary. Sunday 27 July 2014. (Photo: Sam Bloxham/GP2 Series Media Service.)
Stoffel Vandoorne (BEL, ART Grand Prix) celebrates at Hungaroring, Budapest, Hungary. Sunday 27 July 2014. (Photo: Sam Bloxham/GP2 Series Media Service.)
Stoffel Vandoorne (BEL, ART Grand Prix), Jolyon Palmer (GBR, DAMS) & Felipe Nasr (BRA, Carlin) elebrate at Hungaroring, Budapest, Hungary. Sunday 27 July 2014. (Photo: Sam Bloxham/GP2 Series Media Service.)
Stoffel Vandoorne (BEL, ART Grand Prix), Jolyon Palmer (GBR, DAMS) & Felipe Nasr (BRA, Carlin) celebrate at the Hungaroring, Budapest, Hungary. Sunday 27 July 2014. (Photo: Sam Bloxham/GP2 Series Media Service.)
Patric Niederhauser (SUI, Arden International) celebrates his win in Parc Ferme. Photo: Sam Bloxham/GP3 Series Media Service.)
Patric Niederhauser (SUI, Arden International) celebrates his win on the podium with Dino Zamparelli (GBR, ART Grand Prix) and Jann Mardenborough (GBR, Arden International) at the Hungaroring, Hungary 2014 GP3 Series Round 5. Hungaroring, Budapest, Hungary. (Photo: Sam Bloxham/GP3 Series Media Service.)
Arthur Pic (FRA, Campos Racing) celebrates at the Hungaroring, Budapest, Hungary. Saturday 26 July 2014. (Photo: Sam Bloxham/GP2 Series Media Service.
Arthur Pic (FRA, Campos Racing) celebrates at the Hungaroring, Budapest, Hungary. Saturday 26 July 2014. (Photo: Sam Bloxham/GP2 Series Media Service.
Arthur Pic (FRA, Campos Racing) celebrates at the Hungaroring, Budapest, Hungary. Saturday 26 July 2014. (Photo: Sam Bloxham/GP2 Series Media Service.
Arthur Pic (FRA, Campos Racing) celebrates at the Hungaroring, Budapest, Hungary. Saturday 26 July 2014. (Photo: Sam Bloxham/GP2 Series Media Service.
Arthur Pic (FRA, Campos Racing) celebrates at the Hungaroring, Budapest, Hungary. Saturday 26 July 2014. (Photo: Sam Bloxham/GP2 Series Media Service.
Arthur Pic (FRA, Campos Racing) wins at the Hungaroring, Budapest, Hungary. Saturday 26 July 2014. (Photo: Sam Bloxham/GP2 Series Media Service.
Arthur Pic (FRA, Campos Racing) celebrates at the Hungaroring, Budapest, Hungary. Saturday 26 July 2014. (Photo: Sam Bloxham/GP2 Series Media Service.)
Arthur Pic (FRA, Campos Racing) celebrates at the Hungaroring, Budapest, Hungary. Saturday 26 July 2014. (Photo: Sam Bloxham/GP2 Series Media Service.)

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Jimbo - Unregistered

May 26, 2011 8:54 PM

The driving standards today were appalling. It was in Barcelona today and it's arguable that GP3 has better drivers. Grosjean was very lucky not to injure his team mate - he nearly landed right on top of Varhaug's helmet.



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