Dino Zamparelli headed the opening GP3 Series practice session at Spa-Francorchamps this evening.
The Briton led an ART Grand Prix 1-2-3, proving quicker than teammates Marvin Kirchhöfer and Alex Fontana.
The top spot was initially a contest between Zamparelli and Red Bull junior Alex Lynn; however the points leader Lynn was soon jumped in the timings by Kirchhöfer and Fontana.
Lynn would eventually take 4th ahead of Carlin teammate Emil Bernstorff, while Jenzer’s Matheo Tuscher rounded out the top-six.
Trident arrived at the session with a completely new line-up, consisting of Konstantin Tereschenko, John Bryant-Meisner and Luca Ghiotto.
Tereschenko did cause some notoriety on his GP3 debut when he crashed spectacularly at the Bus Stop chicane. The Russian lost control of his Trident machine on the approach into the final corner, sending him toward the crash before clumping the kerb which pitched the 20-year-old into a violent series of barrel-rolls and then a final collision with the tyre barrier.
Despite a brief fire when the oil line split, Tereschenko emerged from the wreck with no injuries.
There was also red flags for offs for Santiago Urrutia and Ryan Cullen, the latter of which ended the session prematurely.
2014 GP3 Series of Round of Belgium (Rd 6, Free Practice) Pos Driver Team Time Gap 1. Dino Zamparelli ART 2m07.021s 2. Marvin Kirchhofer ART 2m07.372s +0.351s 3. Alex Fontana ART 2m07.392s +0.371s 4. Alex Lynn Carlin 2m07.437s +0.416s 5. Emil Bernstorff Carlin 2m07.696s +0.675s 6. Matheo Tuscher Jenzer 2m08.035s +1.014s 7. Nick Yelloly Status 2m08.232s +1.211s 8. Jimmy Eriksson Koiranen 2m08.271s +1.250s 9. Richie Stanaway Status 2m08.341s +1.320s 10. Patrick Kujala Marussia 2m08.374s +1.353s 11. Pal Varhaug Jenzer 2m08.495s +1.474s 12. Riccardo Agostini Hilmer 2m08.648s +1.627s 13. Luca Ghiotto Trident 2m08.674s +1.653s 14. Luis sa Silva Carlin 2m08.791s +1.770s 15. Santiago Urrutia Koiranen 2m08.826s +1.805s 16. Nelson Mason Hilmer 2m08.861s +1.840s 17. Jann Mardenborough Arden 2m08.918s +1.897s 18. Patric Niederhauser Arden 2m09.627s +2.606s 19. Ryan Cullen Marussia 2m09.843s +2.822s 20. Kevin Ceccon Jenzer 2m10.228s +3.207s 21. John Bryan-Meisner Trident 2m11.488s +4.467s 22. Konstantin Tereschenko Trident 2m12.027s +5.006s 23. Alfonso Celis Status 2m12.213s +5.192s 24. Robert Visoiu Arden 2m12.241s +5.220s 25. Sebastian Balthasar Hilmer 2m12.754s +5.733s 26. Carmen Jorda Koiranen 2m14.456s +7.435s 27. Dean Stoneman Marussia 2m18.487s +11.466s
Lewis Hamilton topped the second free practice session at Spa-Francorchamps this afternoon.
In a reversal from this morning’s run, the Briton leads Mercedes teammate Nico Rosberg, posting a fastest time six-tenths quicker than his German counterpart.
It was not all plain sailing for Hamilton. In the final thirty minutes of the session, the 2008 World Champion complained “something weird happened in the gearbox into the last corner”; however he would continue with no issues.
Hamilton’s quickest – 1:49.189s – ensured that Rosberg was comfortably outpaced over single-lap pace and it appeared at this stage as if Hamilton may also have the nod over the longer stint on the Prime Pirelli tyres.
Fernando Alonso took 3rd in his Ferrari, proving four-tenths faster than Williams’ Felipe Massa. The Brazilian’s teammate took 6th, with the Williams cars sandwiching McLaren’s Jenson Button.
The session was red flagged twice. Firstly Pastor Maldonado managed a grand total of one-and-a-half laps when the Venezuelan crashed exiting The Corner With No Name. Esteban Gutierrez also caused a stoppage when he spun and stalled at Blanchimont.
Engine problems left over from the morning practice scuppered Sebastian Vettel’s session. The reigning world champion did not complete any laps in the second practice.
2014 Belgian Grand Prix (Rd 12, Free Practice 2) Pos Driver Team Time / Gap 1. Lewis Hamilton Mercedes 1:49.189 2. Nico Rosberg Mercedes +0.604 3. Fernando Alonso Ferrari +0.741 4. Felipe Massa Williams-Mercedes +1.138 5. Jenson Button McLaren-Mercedes +1.470 6. Valtteri Bottas Williams-Mercedes +1.488 7. Daniil Kvyat Toro Rosso-Renault +1.536 8. Daniel Ricciardo Red Bull-Renault +1.788 9. Kevin Magnussen McLaren-Mercedes +1.885 10. Nico Hulkenberg Force India-Mercedes +1.888 11. Jean-Eric Vergne Toro Rosso-Renault +2.194 12. Adrian Sutil Sauber-Ferrari +2.261 13. Sergio Perez Force India-Mercedes +2.384 14. Romain Grosjean Lotus-Renault +3.007 15. Kimi Raikkonen Ferrari +3.045 16. Jules Bianchi Marussia-Ferrari +3.587 17. Esteban Gutierrez Sauber-Ferrari +4.766 18. Max Chilton Marussia-Ferrari +4.851 19. Marcus Ericsson Caterham-Renault +4.861 20. André Lotterer Caterham-Renault +4.904 21. Pastor Maldonado Lotus-Renault (no time) 22. Sebastian Vettel Red Bull-Renault (no time)
Carlin’s Julian Leal topped the GP2 Series free practice session this afternoon, ahead of Johnny Cecotto Jr and Raffaele Marciello.
The Colombian set a best time of 1:57.877 in his Mechachrome-Renault-powered Dallara to keep him two and four-tenths ahead of his rivals respectively.
Cecotto held the top spot at the halfway point, only Leal to better the experienced Trident man thereafter. As the clock ticked down, the session was delayed by red flags when Racing Engineering’s Stefano Coletti spun and ended in the middle of the road.
Venezuela GP Lazarus pairing Nathanaël Berthon and Conor Daly secured 4th and 5th; however the pairing have often dropped backward during qualifying. McLaren junior Stoffel Vandoorne took 6th with his ART Grand Prix machine. Championship leader Jolyon Palmer set the initial pace; however he fell down the order as the session progressed.
The session was delayed by red flags toward its conclusion when Racing Engineering’s Stefano Coletti spun and ended in the middle of the road.
2014 GP2 Series (Rd 7, Free practice, Spa-Francorchamps) Pos Driver Team Time Gap 1. Julian Leal Carlin 1m57.877s 2. Johnny Cecotto Jr Trident 1m58.030s +0.153s 3. Raffaele Marciello Racing Engineering 1m58.265s +0.388s 4. Nathanael Berthon Lazarus 1m58.291s +0.414s 5. Conor Daly Lazarus 1m58.302s +0.425s 6. Stoffel Vandoorne ART 1m58.339s +0.462s 7. Sergio Canamasas Trident 1m58.370s +0.493s 8. Stefano Coletti Racing Engineering 1m58.374s +0.497s 9. Stephane Richelmi DAMS 1m58.399s +0.522s 10. Mitch Evans Russian Time 1m58.439s +0.562s 11. Adrian Quaife-Hobbs Rapax 1m58.454s +0.577s 12. Jolyon Palmer DAMS 1m58.462s +0.585s 13. Marco Sorensen MP 1m58.487s +0.610s 14. Felipe Nasr Carlin 1m58.658s +0.781s 15. Simon Trummer Rapax 1m58.787s +0.910s 16. Rio Haryanto Caterham 1m58.800s +0.923s 17. Takuya Izawa ART 1m58.889s +1.012s 18. Tom Dillmann Caterham 1m58.923s +1.046s 19. Daniel Abt Hilmer 1m58.943s +1.066s 20. Arthur Pic Campos 1m59.020s +1.143s 21. Rene Binder Arden 1m59.167s +1.290s 22. Jon Lancaster Hilmer 1m59.179s +1.302s 23. Daniel de Jong MP 1m59.311s +1.434s 24. Andre Negrao Arden 1m59.463s +1.586s 25. Artem Markelov Russian Time 1m59.531s +1.654s 26. Kimiya Sato Campos 1m59.564s +1.687s
“Life’s a bitch, eh,” opens a wry and deep Dutch voice. That is one of the markers about Robin Frijns – he is, to say the least, frank.
In the reddish-brown couches in the Caterham motorhome, the Dutch racer exhales deeply.
He has not enjoyed the busiest of times in 2014. Indeed, the life of a reserve driver role at any Formula One squad is rarely filled by seat time and even then the possibility of a drive is slim – just ask Davide Valsecchi.
The drafting of the talented André Lotterer to replace Kamui Kobayashi this weekend has merely drilled that aspect of F1 home. “Formula One is a strange animal,” he continues.
There has been plenty of hype around Frijns in recent seasons. His Formula Renault 3.5 title battle with Jules Bianchi and Sam Bird in 2012 was an epic one, that ended in brutally controversial fashion.
On that day, Frijns was the victor, but at the moment the 23-year-old rests in limbo – a reserve driver for a team less than likely to utilise his talents. “Waiting, it’s the story of my life. Just waiting for an opportunity.”
Bianchi, meanwhile, went straight into a Formula One drive with Marussia, while Bird lingered in GP2 for another season, before departing to the FIA World Endurance Championship.
Lotterer, a well respected driver with three Le Mans 24 Hour victories and former WEC champion, may be bringing some small sponsorship via the HYPE energy drink, but for Frijns it matters little.
Today is just another day where the young man just waits. “Life is like a box of chocolates, you never know what’s in it,” he notes. The sentiment is obvious, even if the quote is slightly off. “I’m off for some action in the garage,” and with another deep breath, Frijns is up and gone.
Sometimes life can be strange. Formula One moreso.
Nico Rosberg headed Mercedes teammate Lewis Hamilton come the end of the first practice session of the Belgian Grand Prix weekend.
Rosberg’s quickest – a 1:51.577s – came just under one hour into the session, piping Hamilton’s best by 0.097s which had been set only moments earlier.
Beyond a single brief off at the final chicane at the half hour mark, it had been a reasonably quiet session for Rosberg, as he settles back into the groove following the four-week break.
There was some more excitement for Hamilton, who – like Rosberg – had an off at the final chicane, but more significantly, came close to losing the car through Eau Rouge; however the skilled Briton held his machine.
Fernando Alonso ended the session 3rd fastest and initially traded quickest times with Rosberg during the opening thirty minutes, before the Mercedes man set recorded a lap at 1:51.724s, taking him beyond the Ferrari’s means. Alonso’s fastest run of 1:51.805 gave the Spaniard an advantage of six-tenths over next man Jenson Button (McLaren).
Button was alone in 4th – four-tenths clear of Kimi Raikkonen (Ferrari), although the former World Champion suffered a brief issue with his DRS, when it locked open. Raikkonen endured a tough time with his Ferrari as he continues to struggle with the feel of the F14T machine. The Finn also spun at La Source.
Next up was Sergio Perez (6th, Force India), while Kevin Magnussen (McLaren), Nico Hulkenberg (Force India), Daniel Ricciardo (Red Bull) ran the Mexican close. Valtteri Bottas rounded out the top ten for Williams.
Sebastian Vettel (Red Bull, 11th) lost a significant amount of time due to burnt exhaust, while at the Red Bull junior team – Toro Rosso – Daniil Kvyat (12th) suffered from braking issues.
Both Lotus’s of Romain Grosjean and Pastor Maldonado suffered poor rear tyre wear. At Sauber, Giedo van de Garde was complaining of a loss of power, limiting his run.
What will now be Alexander Rossi’s only session this weekend saw him end the morning 1.4s shy of teammate Jules Bianchi.
Caterham new boy André Lotterer outpaced teammate Marcus Ericsson during their first session together. The German WEC and Super Formula racer registered a lap one-tenth quicker than the Swedish rookie, although as ever in Free Practice One, it is unknown what programmes were being run in relation to each other.
Max Chilton has retained his Marussia F1 drive, less than one day after he “volunteered to step aside.”
According to Chris Medland from motorsport website crash.net, the 23-year-old will now retake his position with the Anglo-Russian team from Free Practice 2 after being replaced by Alexander Rossi yesterday.
Chilton had initially been dropped by the team due to “contractual issues”, a point later disputed by Chilton’s press group, The Sports PR Company.
“F1: Rossi replaces Chilton at Marussia”
The development adds another layer of confusion to the Marussia story, which began when Rossi was signed as development as reserve driver prior to the Hungarian Grand Prix weekend.