Max Chilton (Carlin)

Briton on top in free practice

Max Chilton has opened his weekend in fine style by setting the pace in this morning’s free practice session in Monza, leading from the front as he put himself at the top of the timesheets for most of the session and finishing four tenths ahead of Felipe Nasr and Luca Filippi.

The Briton’s best lap of 1:31.850 was set just before the field returned to the pits for fresh tyres, claiming all three fastest sectors to blow away anyone else’s chances of improving in the hot and sunny conditions at the famously fast circuit.

The session opened with Series returnee Filippi setting the early pace from Lotus GP pair Esteban Gutierrez and James Calado, but Chilton was soon taking the fight to the Italian: local knowledge helped to keep the battle going for a while (with Marcus Ericsson soon enmeshed in the fight too), but the Briton was clearly determined to take the honours, and soon owned P1 for the remainder of the session.

Few drivers improved in the second half of the session, with most teams concentrating on race set up and the F1 rubber on track becoming less effective over time, although most were still pushing: Calado pushed too hard at the Ascari complex and spun backwards into the wall at the exit, while Davide Valsecchi ran too deep at Variante della Roggia, and Rodolfo Gonzalez spun at the Parabolica as the clock wound down to zero.

Valsecchi and Ericsson led their rivals behind the top three, ahead of Giedo van der Garde, Gutierrez, Stefano Coletti, Nathanael Berthon and Luiz Razia, all of whom were within a second of Chilton’s best time. The pace promises to be even more furious when qualifying opens in just a few hours time.

Monza – Free Practice

Driver Team Laptime Laps
1. Max Chilton Carlin 1:31.850

14

2. Felipe Nasr DAMS 1:32.263

15

3. Luca Filippi Scuderia Coloni 1:32.391

15

4. Davide Valsecchi DAMS 1:32.401

14

5. Marcus Ericsson iSport International 1:32.410

13

6. Giedo van der Garde Catherham Racing 1:32.463

13

7. Esteban Gutierrez Lotus GP 1:32.571

15

8. Stefano Coletti Rapax 1:32.692

16

9. Nathanael Berthon Racing Engineering 1:32.830

14

10. Luiz Razia Arden International 1:32.834

14

11. Rio Haryanto Carlin 1:32.950

15

12. Julian Leal Trident Racing 1:32.954

15

13. Johnny Cecotto Barwa Addax Team 1:32.961

14

14. Fabio Onidi Scuderia Coloni 1:32.982

15

15. James Calado Lotus GP 1:33.058

11

16. Simon Trummer Arden International 1:33.084

14

17. Stephane Richelmi Trident Racing 1:33.147

14

18. Fabio Leimer Racing Engineering 1:33.149

14

19 Sergio Canamasas Venezuela GP Lazarus 1:33.352

13

20. Jolyon Palmer iSport International 1:33.471

14

21. Rodolfo Gonzalez Caterham Racing 1:33.677

10

22. Ricardo Teixeira Rapax 1:33.696

16

23. Nigel Melker Ocean Racing Technology 1:33.780

12

24. Victor Guerin Ocean Racing Technology 1:33.940

14

25. Rene Binder Venezuela GP Lazarus 1:33.977

15

26. Jake Rosenzweig Barwa Addax Team 1:34.518

12