Calado beats Bottas to first GP3 pole
27 August 2011 – Britain’s James Calado has taken a maiden pole position for Saturday afternoon’s opening GP3 race at Spa. He beats championship-leading team-mate Valtteri Bottas to the front of the grid, with Dutchman Nigel Melker third for RSC Mücke.
Conditions remained as testing as ever at Spa, with very heavy rain overnight having resulted in a drenched track surface. As the lap times came down, the likes of Alexander Sims and Adrian Quaife-Hobbs were first to set the pace.
The true drama began with ten minutes remaining, with ART taking the risk to switch to Slicks; initially the decision looked to be wrong, with Bottas – who topped both practice sessions – some nine full seconds off the pace. However, as the track dried, the decision came good as Calado snatched pole by almost one and a half seconds.
He was followed over the line by a selection of rivals, all unable to match the best effort. Bottas elevated himself to second, ahead of Melker, as António Félix da Costa and Quaife-Hobbs completed the top five.
Championship leader Sims starts way down in 17th after another poor qualifying session, with closest rival Mitch Evans 11th.
Race 1 begins at 5:20pm local time (BST +1)