Chilton powers to pole in Monza
Briton stays on top in qualifying
Max Chilton maintained his Free Practice pace to clinch his second pole position of the season with a late surge in this afternoon's qualifying session in Monza, storming to the top spot ahead of Giedo van der Garde and Johnny Cecotto.
The Briton's best time of 1:31.886 was set with just six minutes remaining in the session, and although van der Garde was able to narrow the gap to just 0.067 seconds next time across the finish line, his rivals were unable to push Chilton off pole.
The entire field were straight out on track when the lights went green, with the hot and sunny conditions soon allowing their times to tumble. Cecotto (who loses five places on tomorrow’s starting grid following a penalty picked up last week in Spa), Fabio Leimer and Fabio Onidi all sat briefly on the top of the time sheets before van der Garde staked his claim for pole, settling the best time so far just seven minutes in, and holding on through the pitstops.
With time running out it looked like the Dutchman was going to hold on until Chilton stole the spot and, although van der Garde improved his time next time through, it wasn't enough to steal it back. And when the Briton later spun at Parabolica, with a minute remaining, the rest of the field had no chance to launch a last attack.
Behind the top three were Luca Filippi and Davide Valsecchi, who were both improving on their last lap until the yellow flags emerged, Marcus Ericsson, Leimer, Onidi, Esteban Gutiérrez and Felipe Nasr, while title rivals Luiz Razia and James Calado were back in P12 and 13 respectively. But with 19 drivers within a second of pole, the fight for tomorrow's feature race will be as hot as the scorching weather.