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Qualifying in London: riding the rollercoaster


Following two eventful free practice sessions, the drivers are preparing for the challenge that is qualifying. The 2.925 km long track in London’s Battersea Park is a huge challenge for the drivers and qualifying well is more important here than anywhere else.

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Formed by Nicolas Prost (Renault e.dams), Qing Hua Ma (Team Aguri), Jean-Éric Vergne (DS Virgin), and Robin Frijns (MS Amlin Andretti), this group is highly interesting and a tasty start to qualifying, as Prost topped the FP1 standings and finished 3rd in FP2. Meanwhile Frijns struggled in both free practice sessions and Ma couldn’t find athe pace, while Vergne had a couple of issues with his car. If things go as expected, Prost is pretty much likely to make it to Super Pole.

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Bruno Senna (Mahindra Racing), Oliver Turvey (NEXTEV TCR), Simona De Silvestro (MS Amlin Andretti), and Stéphane Sarrazin (Venturi) form this group. The Frenchman had a Top-10 finish both in FP1 and FP2, and considering how well he has done so far in qualifying, he will probably make it to the final qualifying session. Oliver Turvey has also had a good pace so far, and he can be a big surprise this weekend. Unfortunately, luck wasn’t on Senna’s or de Silvestro’s side in FP1, however, the Brazilian did secure a 10th place finish in FP2.

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Renault e.dams’ Sébastien Buemi, Lucas Di Grassi (ABT Schaeffler Audi Sport), Loïc Duval (Dragon Racing), Jerome D’Ambrosio (Dragon Racing), and Team Aguri’s Antonio Félix Da Costa, form the strongest group – this qualifying’s group of death if you will. With Buemi and di Grassi both fighting for the championship, this group will be a real battle and will give us a first taste of what the title showdown will be like. In addition, the two title contenders will have a hard time fighting off Duval, who had good pace in the free practice sessions. Both d’Ambrosio and da Costa struggled with their performance so far but are known to be good qualifiers nevertheless and might surprise. All in all, this group is a no-miss.

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The last group contains Nelson Piquet Jr. (NEXTEV TCR), Daniel Abt (ABT Schaeffer Audi Sport), Nick Heidfeld (Mahindra Racing), Sam Bird (DS Virgin Racing), and Mike Conway (Venturi). Bird did have bad luck in both free practice sessions, but knowing he’s racing on home soil, he might surprise the crowd and improve on his FP performance so far. Piquet Jr has had a better weekend, and he could be likely to head his qualifying group if things go his way. Abt, however, is who did best, especially in FP2, and could easily make it to Super Pole. Heidfeld and Conway both experienced rather eventful practice sessions so it is hard to determine how they will get around the track in qualifying.



Images courtesy of Rajan Jangda