Raffaele Marciello has got his Silverstone weekend under way in fine style by claiming the top spot in this morning’s free practice session and heading a 1-2 for Racing Engineering, with teammate Stefano Coletti and Alexander Rossi rounding out the top three positions.
The Ferrari Academy driver set a best time of 1:41.127 two-thirds of the way into the session, edging past his previous best time to hold onto the top of the timesheets by just over a tenth from the Monegasque driver in a tight session that saw 14 drivers within a second of the top spot.
The session got underway in sunny, and very windy, conditions, with Johnny Cecotto setting the first competitive time as the tyres got up to temperature, but it wasn’t to last: championship leader Jolyon Palmer soon stole the position before the Racing Engineering pair opened a private battle between them.
Marciello held the honours before the field returned to the pits, but it was a close run thing: the top three were split by under a tenth, and it was clear that more was required. When the field returned to the track they were pushing harder, as evidenced by off-track excursions by Palmer and Coletti among others, but it was the Italian who improved his time and claimed the honours.
Behind the top three Palmer, Cecotto, Felipe Nasr (who slowed with a mechanical gremlin as the chequered flag emerged), Stephane Richelmi, McLaren protégé Stoffel Vandoorne, Daniiel de Jong and Mitch Evans rounded out the top ten, but with a session so close this afternoon’s qualifying session promises sparks.
Silverstone – Free Practice
Driver Team Laptime Laps
1. Raffaele Marciello Racing Engineering 1:41.127 16
2. Stefano Coletti Racing Engineering 1:41.261 14
3. Alexander Rossi EQ8 Caterham Racing 1:41.274 8
4. Jolyon Palmer DAMS 1:41.404 17
5. Johnny Cecotto Trident 1:41.448 19
6. Felipe Nasr Carlin 1:41.453 16
7. Stéphane Richelmi DAMS 1:41.480 17
8. Stoffel Vandoorne ART Grand Prix 1:41.668 18
9. Daniiel De Jong MP Motorsport 1:41.729 18
10. Mitch Evans RT RUSSIAN TIME 1:41.737 19
11. Julian Leal Carlin 1:41.747 18
12. Sergio Canamasas Trident 1:41.892 18
13. Rio Haryanto EQ8 Caterham Racing 1:41.896 16
14. Simon Trummer Rapax 1:42.041 18
15. Conor Daly Venezuela GP Lazarus 1:42.145 16
16. Daniel Abt Hilmer Motorsport 1:42.151 20
17. André Negrao Arden International 1:42.153 15
18. Nathanaël Berthon Venezuela GP Lazarus 1:42.161 17
19 Marco Sorensen MP Motorsport 1:42.209 17
20. Adrian Quaife-Hobbs Rapax 1:42.299 18
21. Arthur Pic Campos Racing 1:42.474 17
22. Artem Markelov RT RUSSIAN TIME 1:42.675 18
23. Kimiya Sato Campos Racing 1:42.826 18
24. Takuya Izawa ART Grand Prix 1:42.941 19
25. Jon Lancaster Hilmer Motorsport 1:43.180 19
26. Rene Binder Arden International 1:43.316 16