Davide Valsecchi (DAMS), GP2 series media

DAMS racer sets the pace in Free Practice at Bahrain International Circuit

Davide Valsecchi showed he will be the man to beat for pole position today. The Italian set the best laptime in this morning’s thirty minutes free practice session in Bahrain, a clear 0.6s ahead of Carlin’s Max Chilton.

The second round of the 2012 GP2 Series season opened up in scorching temperatures in Sakhir, Bahrain. Johnny Cecotto was the first driver to take to the track, but it was Felipe Nasr who set the early pace with a 1:42.713, two tenths quicker than his teammate Valsecchi. A few minutes later, Cecotto moved up to P1 with Chilton making his way to P3, splitting up the DAMS pair.

Turn 2 was yellow flagged just before the mid-session as Tom Dillmann stopped on track following mechanical gremlins, and as soon as the track cleared Valsecchi put his head down and flew to P1 in a blazing 1:41.417 edging out Cecotto. The Italian became the only driver to dip under 1m42s. His rivals were then on a mission to catch him. Series leader Luiz Razia moved up to P4 just before the clock showed fifteen minutes remaining in the session.

While most of the drivers made their way back to the pits, Chilton benefitted from a clear track to improve his latpime and take P2 ahead of Nasr. Fabio Leimer also found some extra pace on a traffic-free circuit to claim P5, but later dropped to P6 after Razia improved and moved up to P5. The closing minutes of the session saw very little change in the classification and at the chequered flag Valsecchi remained top ahead of Chilton, Cecotto, Nasr, Razia, Leimer, Esteban Gutiérrez, James Calado, Dani Clos and Fabio Onidi.

The qualifying session will start today at 15.55 local time.

Bahrain – Free Practice

  Driver Team Laptime Laps
1. Davide Valsecchi DAMS 1:41.417

12

2. Max Chilton Carlin 1:42.088

9

3. Johnny Cecotto Barwa Addax Team 1:42.294

9

4. Felipe Nasr DAMS 1:42.320

12

5. Luiz Razia Arden International 1:42.390

12

6. Fabio Leimer Racing Engineering 1:42.411

6

7. Esteban Gutiérrez Lotus GP 1:42.649

12

8. James Calado Lotus GP 1:42.853

11

9. Dani Clos Barwa Addax Team 1:42.918

11

10. Fabio Onidi Scuderia Coloni 1:42.963

10

11. Marcus Ericsson iSport International 1:43.047

12

12. Julian Leal Trident Racing 1:43.082

13

13. Nathanaël Berthon Racing Engineering 1:43.139

6

14. Stefano Coletti Scuderia Coloni 1:43.235

13

15. Rio Haryanto Carlin 1:43.289

12

16. Simon Trummer Arden International 1:43.377

9

17. Giedo van der Garde Caterham Racing 1:43.470

12

18. Stéphane Richelmi Trident Racing 1:43.485

12

19 Fabrizio Crestani Venezuela GP Lazarus 1:43.532

10

20. Jolyon Palmer iSport International 1:43.542

10

21. Rodolfo Gonzalez Caterham Racing 1:43.726

12

22. Brendon Hartley Ocean Racing Technology 1:43.754

14

23. Nigel Melker Ocean Racing Technology 1:43.974

13

24. Tom Dillmann Rapax 1:44.112

4

25. Ricardo Teixeira Rapax 1:44.137

14

26. Giancarlo Serenelli Venezuela GP Lazarus 1:44.697

13