Well he would think that, wouldn't he? Nelson Piquet Jr will start the first ever A1 Grand Prix race from P1 after the distinct A1 GP qualifying format was debuted and gained a big thumbs-up from drivers down at Brands Hatch in the UK.

Four fifteen minute sessions in which a flying lap was to be set in each gave each driver four bites at the cherry with the two best times from the four being added together to give the qualifying line-up.

Each driver could chose when they went out in each fifteen minute session, although when on track they were limited to their out, flying and in lap. Some squads, such as Team Australia, run by Alan Docking Racing, opted to send driver Will Power out early for each of his four runs in an attempt to avoid the traffic. Others, most notably Team Netherlands with Jos Verstappen at the wheel, opted to take each of their runs late.

Through all this a blinding lap in his third run - the fastest of the race weekend - allied to his earlier strong first run meant that the 2004 British F3 champion Piquet would not be headed, even though he missed the final session.

"For me it was great," said Piquet. "In the first session and in the third session everything worked perfectly. I had one old tyre and two new tyres and in the last session I was quite confident because I still had a new tyre."

Such was the quality of Piquet's third session time that missing the final session due to a minor technical issue was no detriment. "I had a slight problem though which made me very nervous because there was a big chance they could have lower the time but fortunately nobody managed to do it and I kept my time. The team did a very good job and we had no traffic so we went out at the right time."

Piquet certainly reckoned the qualifying format was something special. "I think it is excellent. I don't know about the public but at least for me and the drivers who are planning to get into F1, it is excellent because in F1 it is how it is at the moment," he said. "We want to practice and in GP2 it is not in this way so it is good practice and not only for F1 but to go out and do only one lap and do it perfectly, it is not easy. Here you have to do one lap and that is it. You get to see who is calm and confident and who will put it together for a good lap."

 

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