F1weekly podcast # 513

Photo: gp3series

Podcast number 513

Motorsports Mondial with Nasir Hameed and…

Special repeat interview with now retiring Dr. Mario Theissen.

And special report on the FOTA fan forum from Peter Brazier.

Sam Bird leads in GP2 first practice.

Sam Bird has set the pace in this morning’s free practice session in Silverstone, using his local knowledge to come out on top in changeable conditions to lead an iSport 1-3 ahead of Romain Grosjean and teammate Marcus Ericsson.

The Englishman’s best lap of 1:41.763 was nearly two tenths quicker than Series rival Grosjean with Bird’s teammate half a second off his best time, set with just three minutes remaining in a session that saw times tumble as the track warmed up.

A short shower ahead of free practice saw all of the drivers head onto the circuit on wets, but they all returned to the new pit complex a lap or two later to change onto slick tyres. Luca Filippi was the first man back out on track and was soon setting the pace, with Rodolfo Gonzalez initially the only man close to the Italian’s times.

But with ten minutes remaining the track was clear enough to push: Grosjean and Bird soon squeezed by on the timesheets, with Filippi coming in for fresh tyres before improving his times again, along with most of the field. Giedo van der Garde pushed just a little too hard though: the Dutchman ran wide and found the wall, and will need a new rear wing ahead of this afternoon’s qualifying session.

The top ten was rounded out by David Valsecchi, Filippi, Esteban Gutierrez, Max Chilton, van der Garde, Luiz Razia and Jules Bianchi, all of whom will be hoping that the spots of rain appearing immediately after the session will disappear before they return to the track this afternoon.

GP3’s Brit Quaife-Hobbs leads the way in Silverstone

Marussia Manor Racing’s Adrian Quaife-Hobbs started his quest for home glory this morning by topping free practice 1 at Silverstone Circuit.

The fourth round of 2011 GP3 Series kicked off this morning with the first of two Friday practice sessions at the Northamptonshire circuit and the British driver set the pace claiming the top spot with a time of 1:52.066 nearly four tenths ahead of fellow countryman Lewis Williamson.

Under dark and ominous looking clouds, the thirty strong field went out on Pirelli P Zero wet weather tyres to test the conditions of the drying track. MW Arden’s Williamson was the first man to set the pace, but no sooner had the Scotman gone top the field were back in the pits to switch to slicks.

By mid-way through the session the sun was creepy through and times were quickly dropping. Marussia Manor Racing’s Rio Haryanto briefly went top before Status Grand Prix’s Antonio Felix Da Costa bumped him into second, only to be toppled himself a few seconds later by Lotus ART’s James Calado, who knocked one second off the Portuguese driver’s time. Next lap around Calado was set to improve even further until the Brit spun and found the wall ending his session prematurely.

In the dying minutes of the session the drivers headed out for a final shootout. Haryanto was the man to beat, sitting pretty at the top of the timesheet until Williamson put in a flying lap, only for both men to be toppled by Quaife-Hobbs. Chaves, Evans, Bottas, Smith, Sims, Dillmann and Christensen rounded out the top ten.