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Valsecchi flies to Bahrain feature race pole

Davide Valsecchi looks on a mission at Bahrain, following up his domination of the Friday morning practice session with a comfortable pole position in afternoon qualifying.
DAMS confirmed their impressive pace on the Bahrain International Circuit, when lead driver Davide Valsecchi punched out a lap of 1:41.327s with his first serious effort and then shaved it to 1:41.200s after a brief rest lap to set a benchmark that no one else was able to reach.

"I'm really happy today," said Valsecchi, who also started from pole position in the season opener in Malaysia. "Today, we were the best. I'm really happy. Tomorrow is another day. We need to prove that we have what it takes to stay at the front."

Valsecchi's rookie team mate Felipe Nasr was also impressive, putting in a lap of 1:41.785s which was good enough for third place, but not quite enough to pip Lotus GP's Esteban Gutiérrez for the front row spot alongside Valsecchi. It's the best GP2 starting positions to date for both Gutiérrez and Nasr.

"I have to say that I am really happy with this result today," said Nasr. "I had a great car: the team did a super job to put both cars in front," he added, saying that it made him feel "pretty confident for the rest of the weekend" and was aiming for a podium finish on Saturday.

Sandwiched between the two DAMS drivers, Esteban Gutiérrez felt he could have gone one better if only the track situation had fallen right for him, with his final lap before the mid-session interval frustrated when he came up on the back of his own team mate, rookie James Calado.

"We were improving in the second stint and then we were in traffic," he said. "It happens. We lost two tenths in the last sector. We were fighting for pole definitely, but in the end I am still happy with this result because this is where we belong."

In the end, Gutiérrez' best lap of 1:41.479s was just over a quarter of a second off the pole time, but comfortably ahead of Nasr who was just 0.013s ahead of Racing Engineering's Fabio Leimer with whom he will share the second row for the start of Saturday afternoon's feature race.

Leimer set his fast lap in the second half of the session after keeping his soft option tyres for the latter part of the 30 minute qualifying period, while the others ahead of him all opted to go for the faster compound in their first runs.

Nasr - after his flying lap early on - decided to not even try for a second bite at the apple and consequently has an extra set of unused tyres available to him for the remainder of the weekend.




Related Pictures

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Felipe Nasr (BRA, Dams) during practice and qualifying for the GP2 feature race at Bahrain International Circuit in Bahrain. [World Copyright: Alastair Staley/GP2 Media Service.]
Esteban Gutierrez (MEX, Lotus GP) during practice and qualifying for the GP2 feature race at Bahrain International Circuit in Bahrain. [World Copyright: Alastair Staley/GP2 Media Service.]
Davide Valsecchi (ITA, Dams) celebrates his pole position during practice and qualifying for the GP2 feature race at Bahrain International Circuit in Bahrain. [World Copyright: Alastair Staley/GP2 Media Service.]
Jolyon Palmer (GBR, DAMS) in action at the Autodromo di Monza, Monza, Italy. Sunday 7 September 2014. (Photo: Sam Bloxham/GP2 Series Media Service.)
Raffaele Marciello (ITA, Racing Engineering) in pit lane at the Autodromo di Monza, Monza, Italy. Sunday 7 September 2014. (Photo: Zak Mauger/GP2 Series Media Service.)
Raffaele Marciello (ITA, Racing Engineering) in action at the Autodromo di Monza, Monza, Italy. Sunday 7 September 2014. (Photo: Sam Bloxham/GP2 Series Media Service.)
Stefano Coletti (MON, Racing Engineering) in action at the Autodromo di Monza, Monza, Italy. Sunday 7 September 2014. (Photo: Zak Mauger/GP2 Series Media Service.)
Stefano Coletti (MON, Racing Engineering) in action at the Autodromo di Monza, Monza, Italy. Sunday 7 September 2014. (Photo: Sam Bloxham/GP2 Series Media Service.)
Pierre Gasly (FRA, EQ8 Caterham Racing) in pit lane at the Autodromo di Monza, Monza, Italy. Sunday 7 September 2014. (Photo: Sam Bloxham/GP2 Series Media Service.)
The car of Pierre Gasly (FRA, EQ8 Caterham Racing) is retrieved after a first lap accident at the Autodromo di Monza, Monza, Italy. Sunday 7 September 2014. (Photo: Zak Mauger/GP2 Series Media Service.)
Rio Haryanto (INA, EQ8 Caterham Racing) in action at the Autodromo di Monza, Monza, Italy. Sunday 7 September 2014. (Photo: Zak Mauger/GP2 Series Media Service.)
Rio Haryanto (INA, EQ8 Caterham Racing) in action at the Autodromo di Monza, Monza, Italy. Sunday 7 September 2014. (Photo: Zak Mauger/GP2 Series Media Service.)
Jolyon Palmer (GBR, DAMS) crosses the line at the end of race 2 at the Autodromo di Monza, Monza, Italy. Sunday 7 September 2014. (Photo: Sam Bloxham/GP2 Series Media Service.)
Jolyon Palmer (GBR, DAMS) celebrates in parc ferme after race 2 at the Autodromo di Monza, Monza, Italy. Sunday 7 September 2014. (Photo: Sam Bloxham/GP2 Series Media Service.)
Jolyon Palmer (GBR, DAMS) celebrates in parc ferme after race 2 at the Autodromo di Monza, Monza, Italy. Sunday 7 September 2014. (Photo: Zak Mauger/GP2 Series Media Service.)
Jolyon Palmer (GBR, DAMS) celebrates with team mate Stephane Richelmi (MON, DAMS) celebrates after race 2 at the Autodromo di Monza, Monza, Italy. Sunday 7 September 2014. (Photo: Sam Bloxham/GP2 Series Media Service.)
Jolyon Palmer (GBR, DAMS) celebrates with his father Jonathan after race 2 at the Autodromo di Monza, Monza, Italy. Sunday 7 September 2014. (Photo: Sam Bloxham/GP2 Series Media Service.)
Race winner Jolyon Palmer (GBR, DAMS) & runner-up Stefano Coletti (MON, Racing Engineering) celebrate with champagne after race 2 at the Autodromo di Monza, Monza, Italy. Sunday 7 September 2014. (Photo: Sam Bloxham/GP2 Series Media Service.)

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