Carlin’s Julian Leal has opened the fourth round of the season in fine style: the Colombian set the quickest laptime of this morning’s free practice session in a 1:15.652 ahead of Racing Engineering’s teammates Raffaele Marciello and Stefano Coletti.
The session opened on a treacherous track as light rain fell on the Austrian circuit. The twenty-six drivers however all opted to get a taste of the Red Bull Ring on Pirelli Medium tyres. Series leader Jolyon Palmer set the early pace, but as the drivers got to grips with this new venue, the laptimes rapidly tumbled down and after ten minutes it was Alexander Rossi who was sitting pretty at the top in a 1:16.544.
Halfway through the session, Palmer was able to find some extra pace to move back up to P1 but his time was immediately bettered by Coletti whilst Marciello moved up to second. Felipe Nasr was the first man to break under 1m16s, but Ferrari’s protégé Marciello went quicker to edge the Brazilian out of the top spot. In the dying minutes, Leal put his head down and was able to set the best laptime of the session, one tenth quicker than the Italian. At the chequered flag, the rain picked up again and no one improved on their last attempt. Leal, Marciello, Coletti, Nasr, Johnny Cecotto, Mitch Evans, Daniel Abt, Rene Binder, Stoffel Vandoorne and Palmer completed the top ten.
With the weather being unpredictable and everyone still fairly new to the track, this afternoon’s qualifying session promises to be interesting.
Spielberg – Free Practice
Driver Team Laptime Laps
1. Julian Leal Carlin 1:15.652 24
2. Raffaele Marciello Racing Engineering 1:15.768 20
3. Stefano Coletti Racing Engineering 1:15.830 23
4. Felipe Nasr Carlin 1:15.944 21
5. Johnny Cecotto Trident 1:16.189 26
6. Mitch Evans RT RUSSIAN TIME 1:16.192 24
7. Daniel Abt Hilmer Motorsport 1:16.300 25
8. Rene Binder Arden International 1:16.426 22
9. Stoffel Vandoorne ART Grand Prix 1:16.463 22
10. Jolyon Palmer DAMS 1:16.502 24
11. Alexander Rossi EQ8 Caterham Racing 1:16.544 20
12. Stéphane Richelmi DAMS 1:16.572 21
13. Sergio Canamasas Trident 1:16.620 24
14. Rio Haryanto EQ8 Caterham Racing 1:16.620 24
15. Simon Trummer Rapax 1:16.721 24
16. Daniiel De Jong MP Motorsport 1:16.865 22
17. Conor Daly Venezuela GP Lazarus 1:16.888 21
18. Arthur Pic Campos Racing 1:17.104 24
19 Adrian Quaife-Hobbs Rapax 1:17.169 23
20. Facu Regalia Hilmer Motorsport 1:17.169 23
21. Artem Markelov RT RUSSIAN TIME 1:17.171 22
22. André Negrao Arden International 1:17.288 20
23. Tio Ellinas MP Motorsport 1:17.300 22
24. Takuya Izawa ART Grand Prix 1:17.370 22
25. Kimiya Sato Campos Racing 1:17.605 22
26. Nathanaël Berthon Venezuela GP Lazarus 1:17.785 16