Carlos Sainz Jr took the first pole position of the Formula Renault 3.5 Series season at Monza this morning.
Driving for DAMS, the Spaniard made the best of his second run in the session to pull well of the chasing pack, setting an overall best of 1:33.235 very early into his stint.
Following the session, Sainz Jr commented: “We managed to find the limit very early with the first set and were the only ones to go into the 1’33s. As the others came into their limit, I found that had already had mine.”
Happier in his new confines, it is apparent that the 19-year-old has been able to garner much from the DAMS entry. “The key is to have a set up in the car that gives you confidence to go on the limit straight away and thanks to this, I managed to set a good benchmark and from this I could work on my braking references and high speed references.”
Sainz was already ahead after the first stint, where he registered a best of 1:33.827 – much quicker than next man Marlon Stockinger (Lotus); however he refused to writ any rivals. “The field is only (covered by) 1.4s, so even though we are missing a few cars, it doesn’t change the level of the championship.”
Arden’s Will Buller came closest to deposing Sainz Jr; however the Northern Irishman’s best fell just over one-tenth short of target. Luca Ghiotto and Will Stevens assumed the second row of the grid, with both setting their times late on in. Roberto Merhi’s FR 3.5 début went reasonably well, when he took 5th overall ahead of Stockinger – the latter of whom suffered a brief off at Lesmo’s during a quick run.
Unfortunately for Beitske Visser, the session ended early, when her AVF machine ground to a halt at the end of the pitlane with a mechanical failure after she had only set a single timed run. The German racer will now start from last position.
The session was red flagged 43 seconds from the end when Zoel Amberg spun and stalled his AVF machine at the Roggia chicane, leaving it in an precarious position for the active marshals. Amberg had his best time deleted as a penalty and will now start from 14th position.
Pos Driver Team Time Gap 1. Carlos Sainz Jr DAMS 1m33.235s 2. Will Buller Arden 1m33.359s +0.124s 3. Luca Ghiotto Draco 1m33.451s +0.216s 4. Will Stevens Strakka 1m33.549s +0.314s 5. Roberto Merhi Zeta 1m33.653s +0.418s 6. Marlon Stockinger Lotus 1m33.692s +0.457s 7. Nikolay Martsenko Comtec 1m33.708s +0.473s 8. Pierre Gasly Arden 1m33.857s +0.622s 9. Jazeman Jaafar ISR 1m33.863s +0.628s 10. Matthieu Vaxiviere Lotus 1m33.920s +0.685s 11. Roman Mavlanov Zeta 1m33.935s +0.700s 12. Marco Sorensen Tech 1 1m34.110s +0.875s 13. Matias Laine Strakka 1m34.132s +0.897s 14. Zoel Amberg AVF 1m34.178s +0.943s 15. Pietro Fantin Draco 1m34.252s +1.017s 16. Oliver Rowland Fortec 1m34.274s +1.039s 17. Norman Nato DAMS 1m34.354s +1.119s 18. Sergey Sirotkin Fortec 1m34.414s +1.179s 19. Oliver Webb Pons 1m34.460s +1.225s 20. Meindert van Buuren Pons 1m34.650s +1.415s 21. Beitske Visser AVF 1m35.383s +2.148s