Morning all! The Finns are doing well in GP3 today, with all three in the top 12 for FP1 and Williams reserve Valtteri Bottas (ART) fastest of all the drivers. ART are shining, having taken P1, P3 and P10 in the session. There were also two Arden boys and two Tech 1 boys in the top 10. Nigel Melker also made it, still shining for Mucke Motorsport, and Manor took P4, P11 and P12.
Poor old Antonio Felix da Costa (Status) didn’t have a chance to set a time, however. He tweets: “Didn’t drive the first session after finding out some technical problems last night, the mechs worked all night but problem wasn’t solved. The mechs have 0h sleep and now going to work hard to be ready for FP2! No need to panic we will be alright!”
In F1‘s FP1, Maldonado crashed into the gravel. Nobody was very surprised. The unlucky Venezuelan hasn’t been doing too well at all in 2011. Mark Webber was fastest, and just over a second faster than his teammate Sebastian Vettel suffering from KERS problems. Trulli was having problems with his Lotus, but Kovalainen was well over 1.5s faster than the back five and only 0.2s slower than Alguersuari in a stricken Toro Rosso.
GP2 had its practice after that, and Fairuz Fauzy of Super Nova (and Renault) took his turn in the gravel around the same place as Maldonado. Romain Grosjean (DAMS) had set a lap early on that was 0.5s faster than second-placed Davide Valsecchi (AirAsia), and faster also than Jerome d’Ambrosio’s Formula One time. Most of the GP2 drivers managed to go faster than the slowest F1 FP1 time: Karthikeyan’s 1:32.106. Only Leal, Mirocha, Aleshin (back in the car after his injury in Turkey), Kral, Gonzalez, Bird, Ceccon (just learning the track) and Palmer (with technical problems) were slower. I suspect that there may have been a little corner-cutting on Grosjean’s lap because 0.5s is a big difference at that end of the field.
Coming up… FP2 for F1 and GP3, and qualifying for GP2.