McLaren F1 tester quickest in opening session
GP2 Series leader Stoffel Vandoorne came back from the summer break on top form: the Belgian ace set the fastest laptime in today’s free practice session on home soil at Spa-Francorchamps. He was one tenth quicker than Mitch Evans. Alexander Rossi completed the top three.
The session opened in warm and sunny conditions as the twenty-five cars fed onto the track, and with the drivers eager to come to grips with the long Belgian circuit. Sergey Sirotkin was the man who set the early pace, but Rossi was able to improve on the Russian’s laptime to go top. Vandoorne however was on a mission: he became the first driver to dip under 1m58s to claim P1. Rossi was next, but his efforts were not enough to better the Belgian’s performance.
Evans also broke the 1m58s barrier to move up to P2 whilst Vandoorne found some extra pace to go one hundredth faster than his own best laptime. He then sat pretty at the top until the chequered flag. No driver from the top ten improved on their second set of tyres giving the opportunity to Pierre Gasly to move up to sixth in the closing stages pushing down countryman Norman Nato from tenth to eleventh place.
With Vandoorne, Evans and Rossi completing the top 3, Alex Lynn had to settle for fourth ahead of returnee Oliver Rowland, Gasly, Sirotkin, Arthur Pic (who went a bit wide on his final lap and clipped the barrier), Jordan King and Raffaele Marciello.
The weather is not expected to change for today’s qualifying session and Vandoorne will be the man to beat as he will try and please his home crowd with a fourth pole position this season.
Spa-Francorchamps – Free Practice
Driver
Team
Laptime
Laps
1.
Stoffel Vandoorne
ART Grand Prix
1:57.486
17
2.
Mitch Evans
RUSSIAN TIME
1:57.640
16
3.
Alexander Rossi
Racing Engineering
1:57.731
15
4.
Alex Lynn
DAMS
1:57.833
17
5.
Oliver Rowland
MP Motorsport
1:57.841
16
6.
Pierre Gasly
DAMS
1:57.871
17
7.
Sergey Sirotkin
Rapax
1:58.108
16
8.
Arthur Pic
Campos Racing
1:58.141
13
9.
Jordan King
Racing Engineering
1:58.188
15
10.
Raffaele Marciello
Trident
1:58.231
15
11.
Norman Nato
Arden International
1:58.249
16
12.
Sergio Canamasas
Daiko Team Lazarus
1:58.343
15
13.
Artem Markelov
RUSSIAN TIME
1:58.446
15
14.
Daniel De Jong
MP Motorsport
1:58.463
16
15.
Richie Stanaway
Status Grand Prix
1:58.496
17
16.
André Negrao
Arden International
1:58.744
16
17.
Rio Haryanto
Campos Racing
1:58.822
13
18.
Nathanaël Berthon
Daiko Team Lazarus
1:58.866
16
19
Julian Leal
Carlin
1:58.884
15
20.
Marlon Stockinger
Status Grand Prix
1:59.202
15
21.
Nobuharu Matsushita
ART Grand Prix
1:59.209
19
22.
Nick Yelloly
Hilmer Motorsport
1:59.232
16
23.
Robert Visoiu
Rapax
1:59.610
17
24.
Sean Gelael
Carlin
2:00.683
16
25.
Gustav Laja
Trident
2:01.194
7