Championship leader tops free practice
 
Charles Leclerc has set the pace in the penultimate free practice session of the 2017 FIA Formula 2 Championship this morning at the Circuito de Jerez, topping the timesheets on 1:25.452 halfway through the session before concentrating on race runs to claim the top spot ahead of title rival Oliver Rowland and Nyck De Vries.
The session got underway to gloriously sunny conditions, with Artem Markelov leading all of the field out on track when the green light came on. Rowland set the first competitive lap time 5 minutes into the session but was briefly displaced by Nobuharu Matsushita before reclaiming the top spot, just ahead of Leclerc and De Vries.
The red flags emerged at the 9 minute mark when Ralph Boschung got stranded on the kerbs at turn 10, with all of his rivals returning to the pits as the marshals got to work on removing the stricken car. The session was green 9 minutes later, with Leclerc heading straight out to claim the top spot before everyone got to work on their long run simulations.
There was little in the way of wayward action for the rest of the session, with Sean Gelael getting stranded at turn 13 just as the session came to a close. Sergio Sette Camara set the pace behind the top 3, just ahead of Nicholas Latifi, Matsushita, Norman Nato, Alexander Albon, Louis Deletraz and Markelov in a session which saw the top 16 drivers within a second of the top spot, promising drama for this afternoon’s qualifying session.
Preliminary Free Practice Classification
 
Driver
Team
Laptime
Laps
1
Charles LECLERC
PREMA Racing
1:25.293
18
2
Oliver ROWLAND
DAMS
1:25.461
18
3
Nyck DE VRIES
Racing Engineering
1:25.735
16
4
Sergio SETTE CAMARA
MP Motorsport
1:25.868
19
5
Nicholas LATIFI
DAMS
1:25.940
19
6
Nobuharu MATSUSHITA
ART Grand Prix
1:25.975
19
7
Norman NATO
Pertamina Arden
1:25.985
19
8
Alexander ALBON
ART Grand Prix
1:25.988
18
9
Louis DELÉTRAZ
Rapax
1:26.050
18
10
Artem MARKELOV
RUSSIAN TIME
1:26.072
18
11
Gustav MALJA
Racing Engineering
1:26.108
18
12
Sean GELAEL
Pertamina Arden
1:26.195
18
13
Luca GHIOTTO
RUSSIAN TIME
1:26.203
17
14
Santino FERRUCCI
Trident
1:26.214
19
15
Antonio FUOCO
PREMA Racing
1:26.247
13
16
Alex PALOU
Campos Racing
1:26.287
19
17
Jordan KING
MP Motorsport
1:26.430
16
18
Nabil JEFFRI
Trident
1:26.801
17
19
René BINDER
Rapax
1:26.981
18
20
Ralph BOSCHUNG
Campos Racing
1:46.217
3