Spa, FP: Vandoorne tops Spa free practice
McLaren F1 tester quickest in opening session
GP2 Series leader Stoffel Vandoorne came back from the summer break on top form: the Belgian ace set the fastest laptime in today’s free practice session on home soil at Spa-Francorchamps. He was one tenth quicker than Mitch Evans. Alexander Rossi completed the top three.
The session opened in warm and sunny conditions as the twenty-five cars fed onto the track, and with the drivers eager to come to grips with the long Belgian circuit. Sergey Sirotkin was the man who set the early pace, but Rossi was able to improve on the Russian’s laptime to go top. Vandoorne however was on a mission: he became the first driver to dip under 1m58s to claim P1. Rossi was next, but his efforts were not enough to better the Belgian’s performance.
Evans also broke the 1m58s barrier to move up to P2 whilst Vandoorne found some extra pace to go one hundredth faster than his own best laptime. He then sat pretty at the top until the chequered flag. No driver from the top ten improved on their second set of tyres giving the opportunity to Pierre Gasly to move up to sixth in the closing stages pushing down countryman Norman Nato from tenth to eleventh place.
With Vandoorne, Evans and Rossi completing the top 3, Alex Lynn had to settle for fourth ahead of returnee Oliver Rowland, Gasly, Sirotkin, Arthur Pic (who went a bit wide on his final lap and clipped the barrier), Jordan King and Raffaele Marciello.
The weather is not expected to change for today’s qualifying session and Vandoorne will be the man to beat as he will try and please his home crowd with a fourth pole position this season.
|1.||Stoffel Vandoorne||ART Grand Prix||1:57.486||17|
|2.||Mitch Evans||RUSSIAN TIME||1:57.640||16|
|3.||Alexander Rossi||Racing Engineering||1:57.731||15|
|5.||Oliver Rowland||MP Motorsport||1:57.841||16|
|8.||Arthur Pic||Campos Racing||1:58.141||13|
|9.||Jordan King||Racing Engineering||1:58.188||15|
|11.||Norman Nato||Arden International||1:58.249||16|
|12.||Sergio Canamasas||Daiko Team Lazarus||1:58.343||15|
|13.||Artem Markelov||RUSSIAN TIME||1:58.446||15|
|14.||Daniel De Jong||MP Motorsport||1:58.463||16|
|15.||Richie Stanaway||Status Grand Prix||1:58.496||17|
|16.||André Negrao||Arden International||1:58.744||16|
|17.||Rio Haryanto||Campos Racing||1:58.822||13|
|18.||Nathanaël Berthon||Daiko Team Lazarus||1:58.866||16|
|20.||Marlon Stockinger||Status Grand Prix||1:59.202||15|
|21.||Nobuharu Matsushita||ART Grand Prix||1:59.209||19|
|22.||Nick Yelloly||Hilmer Motorsport||1:59.232||16|