GP3 – James Calado Takes Maiden Pole

August 27, 2011

Formula 1

James Calado took his first GP3 pole position for Lotus ART after an epic battle for pole position at Spa-Francorchamps today. The British driver finished just 0.088 seconds ahead of his teammate and Series leader Valtteri Bottas proving that the reigning champions are still the team to beat this season.

Heavy rain overnight meant the drivers faced difficult conditions for this morning’s qualifying. The weather is notoriously changeable at the Belgium track, and in the end it came down to which team had the best tyre strategy. The track was damp but drying when the lights turned green, and the field headed out on track on wet weather tyres. 
As the drivers got to grips with the notoriously tricky track the first half of the session was a battle between Series front-runners Alexander Sims, Adrian Quaife-Hobbs and Bottas with the three drivers swapping quickest lap times as the track dried and times started to tumble.
With ten minutes left the session came alive. Lotus ART was the first team to take a weather gamble and switch their drivers to slick tyres. As the lead of the timesheet continued to change Bottas was nine seconds off the pace on slicks, and it started to look like the team had been too eager to switch tyres. With the chequered flag in sight it was impossible to tell which tyre choice would pay off, but with three minutes to go Calado grabbed the top spot on slicks by 1.447 seconds. As the rest of the field crossed the line they were unable to match the Brits rapid time. Bottas settled for second ahead of Melker who briefly held the top spot, Antonio Felix Da Costa and Quaife-Hobbs.
Status Grand Prix’s Alexander Sims was a casualty of the conditions and will start from seventeenth after just missing out on a flying lap on his new slick tyres. 
GP3 Series will be back on track this afternoon for Race 1 of the weekend at 17:20 local time.
Qualifying times:
POS
NO
DRIVER
TEAM
TIME
LAPS
GAP
1
3
J. CALADO
Lotus ART
2:20.146
12
2
2
V. BOTTAS
Lotus ART
2:20.234
13
0.088
3
31
N. MELKER
2:21.315
12
1.169
4
5
A. FELIX DA COSTA
Status Grand Prix
2:22.359
13
2.213
5
10
A. QUAIFE-HOBBS
Marussia Manor Racing
2:22.689
12
2.543
6
21
N. YELLOLY
Atech CRS GP
2:22.818
12
2.672
7
14
C. DALY
Carlin
2:22.988
12
2.842
8
23
T. DILLMANN
Addax Team
2:23.088
12
2.942
9
7
N. MULLER
Jenzer Motorsport
2:23.256
12
3.110
10
28
L. WILLIAMSON
MW Arden
2:23.272
13
3.126
11
26
M. EVANS
MW Arden
2:23.439
13
3.293
12
30
M. CHRISTENSEN
RSC Mucke Motorsport
2:23.693
12
3.547
13
6
I. LUKASHEVICH
Status Grand Prix
2:23.772
13
3.626
14
17
A. VAINIO
Tech 1 Racing
2:24.106
12
3.960
15
9
A. FONTANA
Jenzer Motorsport
2:24.300
13
4.154
16
20
M. STOCKINGER
Atech CRS GP
2:24.651
12
4.505
17
4
A. SIMS
Status Grand Prix
2:24.774
12
4.628
18
1
R. STANAWAY
Lotus ART
2:24.911
12
4.765
19
16
L. CORDEIRO
Carlin
2:25.172
12
5.026
20
11
R. HARYANTO
Marussia Manor Racing
2:25.496
12
5.350
21
8
M. ZIMIN
Jenzer Motorsport
2:25.560
13
5.414
22
29
D. MANCINELLI
RSC Mucke Motorsport
2:25.857
12
5.711
23
27
S. TRUMMER
MW Arden
2:26.284
13
6.138
24
22
Z. AMBERG
Atech CRS GP
2:26.917
12
6.771
25
25
D. SMITH
Addax Team
2:26.952
12
6.850
26
12
M. LAINE
Marussia Manor Racing
2:27.996
12
7.850
27
18
T. HYLKEMA
Tech 1 Racing
2:28.115
13
7.969
28
19
T. PAL KISS
Tech 1 Racing
2:28.738
12
8.592
29
24
G. CHAVES
Addax Team
2:29.743
9
9.597
30
15
C. MACLEOD
Carlin
2:29.751
11
9.605
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