- Lando Norris heads a Carlin qualifying 1-2 to extend his championship lead
- Colton Herta second fastest with Norris’s chief title rival Ricky Collard P4
BRANDS HATCH 10 OCTOBER, 2015 – Championship leader Lando Norris underlined his qualifying supremacy this morning at Brands Hatch, topping the timesheets for the fifth time this season. Fifteen-year-old Lando led home his team-mate Colton Herta by four-tenths of a second to make it an all-Carlin front row for this afternoon’s 28th round of the Ford EcoBoost-powered MSA Formula Championship, and it will be a Norris-Herta 1-2 on the grid for tomorrow’s live-televised final race also.
Norris is the only driver this season to have topped qualifying on more than one occasion and he was rightly pleased with his performance: “Everything went pretty well. I was a bit tense half-way through when we had a red flag period; at that point Colton was fastest by quite a way. But we tried something different when we went out again and it all paid off.”
Lando’s quickest lap was, at 1m 25.848, quicker than his Friday testing best by 0.38s; he was the only driver to dip under the 1m 26s mark and his second-best time, 1m 26.154s, was quicker than any of his rivals’ best times also.
With five points going to the driver scoring the quickest qualifying lap, Norris extends his championship lead over Ricky Collard to 18 points. After sustaining serious damage to his TRS Arden car in testing yesterday, Collard did well to bounce back in qualifying to set fourth-best time behind Norris, Herta and JHR Developments driver Sennan Fielding, but Ricky was nonetheless downcast: “It was another poor qualifying performance, another disappointment. I feel fine after yesterday but this will make things hard in the races. We will just have to hope for a bit of misfortune for the others.” Collard will start round 30 tomorrow, the grid for which is established by the drivers’ second-best qualifying times, from P6.
Fielding’s third place was his best qualifying showing of the season.
Collard’s TRS Arden team-mate Enaam Ahmed was fifth quickest – equalling his season-best qualifying performance – and was the leading Rookie driver by very nearly half a second. Toby Sowery completed the qualifying top six for MBM Motorsport with James Pull seventh for Fortec.
Eighth-placed Matheus Leist set a blazing pace early on for Double R Racing but overcooked it at Sheene on a hot lap, hooking a wheel on the wet grass and going off, damaging his front wing and prompting a brief stoppage to the session. “I just went on the grass and off. It was a really good lap… It happens,” said the Brazilian. Leist’s was the second red-flag incident, Darius Karbaley having been tipped into the gravel at Druids after a clash of wheels with Josh Smith early on in the session.
Carlin’s Petru Florescu and SWB Motorsport man Rafael Martins completed the top-10 order this morning, ahead of Sandy Mitchell (TRS Arden) and Dan Baybutt (JTR).
The action steps up a gear this afternoon at Brands Hatch with race one at 1400 and the reverse-grid race following at 1655. Tomorrow afternoon’s final round is live on ITV4 at 1500.
Provisional qualifying times Brands Hatch GP 10 October 2015
1 Lando NORRIS / GBR / Carlin 1:25.848
2 Colton HERTA / USA / Carlin 1:26.286
3 Sennan FIELDING / GBR / JHR 1:26.689
4 Ricky COLLARD / GBR / TRS Arden 1:26.699
5 Enaam AHMED / GBR / TRS Arden 1:26.708
6 Toby SOWERY / GBR / MBM 1:26.864
7 James PULL / GBR / Fortec 1:26.918
8 Matheus LEIST / BRA / Double R 1:27.060
9 Petru FLORESCU / ROU / Carlin 1:27.191
10 Rafael MARTINS / BRA / SWB 1:27.280 etc
Round 28 grid order Norris – Herta – Fielding – Collard – Ahmed – Pull – Leist – Florescu – Martins – Sandy MITCHELL / GBR / TRS Arden – Sowery (5-place penalty) etc
Round 30 grid order (based on second-fastest times) Norris – Herta – Fielding – Ahmed – Sowery – Collard – Pull – Daniel BAYBUTT / GBR / JTR – Mitchell – Josh SMITH / GBR / Fortec etc