Red Bull Ring GP2: Sirotkin beats Giovinazzi to pole by 0.006s

ART Grand Prix driver Sergey Sirotkin denied Prema Racing's Antonio Giovinazzi back-to-back GP2 poles, heading the Italian by 0.006s in qualifying at the Red Bull Ring.

Red Bull Ring GP2: Sirotkin beats Giovinazzi to pole by 0.006s
Sergey Sirotkin, ART Grand Prix
Sergey Sirotkin, ART Grand Prix
Antonio Giovinazzi, PREMA Racing
Pierre Gasly, PREMA Racing
Pierre Gasly, PREMA Racing

The pole was Renault F1 test driver Sirotkin's third in GP2 - and his second with his new team ART.

After Giovinazzi became the first-ever driver to take the GP2/11 below 1m14s at the circuit, teammate Gasly clocked in a 1m13.975s early on in the shootout - albeit coming up short of the Italian's practice benchmark.

However, nobody else came even close during the first run, Sirotkin lapping as next-best a tenth off, while Giovinazzi himself another was two tenths down.

With track conditions continuing to improve after Formula 1's FP2 session was affected by rain, the latter half of the shootout was expected to bring much faster laptimes - and the field all opted to run their second set of flying laps in the closing minutes.

First, it was Gasly taking his benchmark down to a 1m13.803s - but the Frenchman was quickly surpassed by Sirotkin and Giovinazzi, the Russian emerging 0.006s ahead with a 1m13.663s lap.

Gasly immediately looked to respond, going faster in sectors 1 and 2, only to be impeded by Nicholas Latifi through S3, his lap undone and the hold-up prompting an angry message on the radio.

With a minute to go, Giovinazzi lapped within half a tenth of his best effort - and the pole fight was done then and there as Jimmy Eriksson stopping in the final sector meant the session's end took place under yellow flags.

The Italian settled for a spot on the front row, ahead of teammate Gasly and compatriot Luca Ghiotto, the rookie taking his Trident car to fourth place,

Artem Markelov and Raffaele Marciello made it an all-Russian Time row three, ahead of Britons Oliver Rowland and Alex Lynn.

Norman Nato and Mitch Evans made up the top 10, while Rene Binder, replacing ART's suspended driver Nobuharu Matsushita, took 16th.

Qualifying results

Pos.#DriverTeamLapsTimeGapKph
1 2 Sergey Sirotkin ART Grand Prix 14 1'13.663   211.416
2 20 Antonio Giovinazzi Prema Powerteam 15 1'13.669 0.006 211.399
3 21 Pierre Gasly Prema Powerteam 14 1'13.803 0.140 211.015
4 15 Luca Ghiotto Trident 15 1'14.091 0.428 210.195
5 10 Artem Markelov RUSSIAN TIME 14 1'14.099 0.436 210.172
6 9 Raffaele Marciello RUSSIAN TIME 13 1'14.184 0.521 209.932
7 22 Oliver Rowland MP Motorsport 13 1'14.316 0.653 209.559
8 5 Alex Lynn DAMS 13 1'14.387 0.724 209.359
9 3 Norman Nato Racing Engineering 15 1'14.456 0.793 209.165
10 7 Mitch Evans Campos Racing 14 1'14.574 0.911 208.834
11 24 Nabil Jeffri Arden International 14 1'14.626 0.963 208.688
12 19 Marvin Kirchhofer Carlin 14 1'14.647 0.984 208.629
13 12 Arthur Pic Rapax 15 1'14.688 1.025 208.515
14 4 Jordan King Racing Engineering 15 1'14.815 1.152 208.161
15 18 Sergio Canamasas Carlin 15 1'14.832 1.169 208.114
16 1 Rene Binder ART Grand Prix 12 1'14.886 1.223 207.964
17 6 Nicholas Latifi DAMS 15 1'14.958 1.295 207.764
18 11 Gustav Malja Rapax 15 1'15.020 1.357 207.592
19 8 Sean Gelael Campos Racing 14 1'15.112 1.449 207.338
20 23 Daniel de Jong MP Motorsport 14 1'15.307 1.644 206.801
21 25 Jimmy Eriksson Arden International 12 1'15.531 1.868 206.188
22 14 Philo Paz Armand Trident 15 1'15.675 2.012 205.795
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