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.