GP2 logoBriton fastest in free practice

Jolyon Palmer set a benchmark for his rivals with a scorching late lap to claim the top spot in this morning’s free practice session in Monza, although it was tight at the top: the Briton’s best lap of 1:32.120 was just 0.003 ahead of Fabio Leimer and two tenths to the good over Sam Bird.
The session opened in hot and sunny conditions, with all drivers heading straight out as the lights went green. James Calado set the early pace, fresh from his earlier F1 practice session with Force India, but when Johnny Cecotto spun at the parabolica five minutes in the session had to be red flagged to sweep the gravel from the track.
When the session restarted Alexander Rossi, Marcus Ericsson, Sam Bird and Leimer all took their turn at the top of the timesheets, and with the usual pitstops now staggered because of the red flag there seemed to be more space than ever for the drivers to find their own grooves. Until around 20 minutes in, that is, when Stefano Coletti and Cecotto came together at turn one, with the Monegasque driver breaking his wing in the process to his clear displeasure.
Palmer had been on the pace all session, and claimed his prize with 8 minutes to go: his rivals had little answer, and were perhaps mindful of avoiding damage with qualifying only hours away, although Bird popped up to third with 5 minutes to go. He displaced Stéphane Richelmi, Tom Dillmann, Coletti, Julian Leal, Simon Trummer, Ericsson and Alexander Rossi with just one second covering the top 17 positions, this afternoon’s qualifying session promises to be dramatic.

Monza – Free Practice

Driver Team Laptime Laps
1. Jolyon Palmer Carlin 1:32.120

12

2. Fabio Leimer Racing Engineering 1:32.123

11

3. Sam Bird RUSSIAN TIME 1:32.351

11

4. Stéphane Richelmi DAMS 1:32.501

13

5. Tom Dillmann RUSSIAN TIME 1:32.502

10

6. Stefano Coletti Rapax 1:32.532

12

7. Julian Leal Racing Engineering 1:32.586

11

8. Simon Trummer Rapax 1:32.634

13

9. Marcus Ericsson DAMS 1:32.711

12

10. Alexander Rossi EQ8 Caterham Racing 1:32.743

12

11. James Calado ART Grand Prix 1:32.863

13

12. Adrian Quaife-Hobbs Hilmer Motorsport 1:32.877

13

13. Mitch Evans Arden International 1:32.951

12

14. Dani Clos MP Motorsport 1:32.966

11

15. Felipe Nasr Carlin 1:33.029

12

16. Jake Rosenzweig Barwa Addax Team 1:33.045

11

17. Jon Lancaster Hilmer Motorsport 1:33.067

12

18. Daniel Abt ART Grand Prix 1:33.092

13

19 Rio Haryanto Barwa Addax Team 1:33.172

10

20. Nathanaël Berthon Trident Racing 1:33.174

13

21. Sergio Canamasas EQ8 Caterham Racing 1:33.369

11

22. Johnny Cecotto Arden International 1:33.389

11

23. Daniel De Jong MP Motorsport 1:33.447

12

24. Vittorio Ghirelli Venezuela GP Lazarus 1:33.465

13

25. Rene Binder Venezuela GP Lazarus 1:33.943

12

26. Sergio Campana Trident Racing 1:34.448

12