While Formula 1 busies itself in Valencia at its opening test sessions of the season, twenty-six GP2 machines lined up at Abu Dhabi’s Yas Marina circuit for the first day of pre-season work.
Former Renault driver, Romain Grosjean topped the opening day, but it was some time before any representative running could be achieved. Yesterday’s localised sandstorm had left the circuit shrouded in layers of dust, leaving much of the field to just complete installation laps in the morning.
Eventually Stefano Coletti topped the morning time sheets with 1:54.161. Although the Trident racer completed only eight laps, it was enough to see Monegasque resident ahead of Carlin’s Max Chilton. Coletti’s Trident teammate, Rodolfo Gonzalez was 3rd quickest, one-tenth faster than Giedo van der Garde in his Barwa Addax machine.
The Racing Engineering pair of Nathanael Berthon and Dani Clos were 5th and 6th quickest respectively. As the clock ticked down, the session was culled 30 minutes early to allow for further track cleaning.
It made for an interesting début for the third generation machine, officially known as the GP2/11 and while its morning running may been light, Renault power sang freely during the afternoon.
Incredibly, rain began to fall at the beginning of the second session, thereby condemning the opening hour to further silence. As cars slowly bled onto the circuit, the dampness was washed away and laptimes quickly reduced.
By the chequered flag Grosjean had claimed both the fastest lap and the most running, as the Swiss driver notched up 39 laps on his way to a 1:49.768. The DAMS driver is expected to be a Championship challenger this season, but tellingly another title contender, Jules Bianchi, ran Grosjean close in the final minutes. Coletti and van der Garde continued their impressive runs with 3rd and 4th respectively, while van der Garde’s teammate, Charles Pic secured a top-five lap with a 1:50.477.
Britain’s Oliver Turvey announced this week that he had scraped a GP2 Asia deal together with Ocean Racing Technology and he rewarded the Portuguese team with top-ten lap, albeit 1.2 seconds slower than Grosjean. Max Chilton dropped to 13th by the end of the day and the two other British runners, James Jakes and Sam Bird, completed only 17 laps between them over the course of the entire day.
The second day of testing commences at 5am (GMT) tomorrow morning.
|1.||Stefano Coletti||Trident Racing||1:54.161||8|
|3.||Rodolfo Gonzalez||Trident Racing||1:55.347||8|
|4.||Giedo van der Garde||Barwa Addax Team||1:55.496||5|
|5.||Nathanael Berthon||Racing Engineering||1:55.803||6|
|6.||Dani Clos||Racing Engineering||1:56.654||7|
|7.||Oliver Turvey||Ocean Racing Technology||1:57.134||6|
|8.||Charles Pic||Barwa Addax Team||1:57.408||5|
|9.||Andrea Caldarelli||Ocean Racing Technology||1:58.195||7|
|11.||Fairuz Fauzy||Super Nova Racing||2:00.373||4|
|12.||James Jakes||Scuderia Coloni||2:01.180||3|
|13.||Johnny Cecotto||Super Nova Racing||2:02.287||5|
|14.||Esteban Gutierrez||Lotus ART||2:07.039||4|
|15.||Luiz Razia||Team AirAsia||2:19.672||10|
|16.||Michael Herck||Scuderia Coloni||—||2|
|17.||Marcus Ericsson||iSport International||—||1|
|18.||Sam Bird||iSport International||—||1|
|19.||Josef Kral||Ardent International||—||1|
|20.||Jolyon Palmer||Arden International||—||1|
|24.||Davide Valsecchi||Team AirAsia||—||1|
|26.||Jules Bianchi||Lotus ART||—||0|
|2.||Jules Bianchi||Lotus ART||1:50.212||30|
|3.||Stefano Coletti||Trident Racing||1:50.388||9|
|4.||Giedo van der Garde||Barwa Addax Team||1:50.474||21|
|5.||Charles Pic||Barwa Addax Team||1:50.477||20|
|6.||Michael Herck||Scuderia Coloni||1:50.526||29|
|7.||Marcus Ericsson||iSport International||1:50.580||16|
|8.||Esteban Gutierrez||Lotus ART||1:50.727||31|
|9.||Josef Kral||Arden International||1:50.820||17|
|10.||Oliver Turvey||Ocean Racing Technology||1:50.992||19|
|11.||Davide Valsecchi||Team AirAsia||1:51.004||21|
|12.||Nathanael Berthon||Racing Engineering||1:51.046||22|
|15.||Rodolfo Gonzalez||Trident Racing||1:51.169||29|
|17.||Andrea Caldarelli||Ocean Racing Technology||1:51.396||26|
|18.||Luiz Razia||Team AirAsia||1:51.505||32|
|20.||Jolyon Palmer||Arden International||1:51.662||25|
|22.||Fairuz Fauzy||Super Nova Racing||1:52.021||23|
|23.||Johnny Cecotto||Super Nova Racing||1:52.206||30|
|24.||James Jakes||Scuderia Coloni||1:52.587||9|
|25.||Sam Bird||iSport International||1:52.616||4|
|26.||Dani Clos||Racing Engineering||2:05.096||21|