Frenchman on top despite stopping on track
Pierre Gasly has picked up where he left off by setting the pace in this morning’s Free Practice session in Monza, claiming the top spot despite a probable fuel issue halfway through the session halting his track time early, ahead of Artem Markelov and PREMA Racing teammate Antonio Giovinazzi.

The Red Bull tester stopped the clocks at 1:31.990 in a session which saw three VSC periods for on track incidents, including the top two drivers stopping early. The session got underway under hot and sunny conditions, with Arthur Pic setting the early pace before Jimmy Eriksson stopped at the Rettifilo exit, prompting the first VSC period just 6 minutes in.

The session got back underway 2 minutes later as the teams restarted their programmes: Jordan King, Luca Ghiotto, Pic, Markelov and Giovinazzi all sat on the top of the timesheets for a while before Gasly trumped them at the 16 minute mark: his rivals tried in vain to topple the Frenchman before Gasly and Markelov both stopped on the approach to the Parabolica after likely running out of fuel as Nabil Jeffri spun behind them at Ascari before returning, prompting the second VSC period as most of the field returned to the pits for fresh rubber.

With the teams working on race pace in the second half of the session there was little improvement in times, although Mitch Evans was the notable exception as he grabbed P4 at the restart, and the session briefly slowed once more for a VSC as a spin off the kerbs at Lesmo saw Philo Paz Armand find the wall, before the remainder of the grid ran to the flag from the restart without further incident.

Behind the top three Evans, King, Oliver Rowland, Ghiotto, Marvin Kirchhöfer, Pic and Alex Lynn ran within a second of the top spot and will all fancy their chances in this afternoon’s Qualifying session, where the pace on track will look to replicate the heat surrounding the circuit.

Monza, Italy – Free Practice
Driver
Team
Laptime
Laps
1.
Pierre Gasly
PREMA Racing
1:31.990
9
2.
Artem Markelov
RUSSIAN TIME
1:32.142
9
3.
Antonio Giovinazzi
PREMA Racing
1:32.225
18
4.
Mitch Evans
Pertamina Campos Racing
1:32.413
16
5.
Jordan King
Racing Engineering
1:32.514
18
6.
Oliver Rowland
MP Motorsport
1:32.604
18
7.
Luca Ghiotto
Trident
1:32.666
19
8.
Marvin Kirchhöfer
Carlin
1:32.718
16
9.
Arthur Pic
Rapax
1:32.772
18
10.
Alex Lynn
DAMS
1:32.794
18
11.
Sergey Sirotkin
ART Grand Prix
1:32.809
17
12.
Nicholas Latifi
DAMS
1:32.939
19
13.
Norman Nato
Racing Engineering
1:33.068
18
14.
Nobuharu Matsushita
ART Grand Prix
1:33.121
18
15.
Sean Gelael
Pertamina Campos Racing
1:33.340
17
16.
Sergio Canamasas
Carlin
1:33.341
14
17.
Gustav Malja
Rapax
1:33.421
20
18.
Nabil Jeffri
Arden International
1:33.502
19
19
Raffaele Marciello
RUSSIAN TIME
1:33.525
16
20.
Daniël de Jong
MP Motorsport
1:33.942
18
21.
Philo Paz Armand
Trident
1:34.021
13
22.
Jimmy Eriksson
Arden International
2