GP2

Jolyon Palmer (Carlin)

Palmer leads the way in Monza—

 Briton fastest in free practice—
 
Jolyon Palmer set a benchmark for his rivals with a scorching late lap to claim the top spot in this morning’s free practice session in Monza, although it was tight at the top: the Briton’s best lap of 1:32.120 was just 0.003 ahead of Fabio Leimer and two tenths to the good over Sam Bird.
The session opened in hot and sunny conditions, with all drivers heading straight out as the lights went green. James Calado set the early pace, fresh from his earlier F1 practice session with Force India, but when Johnny Cecotto spun at the parabolica five minutes in the session had to be red flagged to sweep the gravel from the track.
When the session restarted Alexander Rossi, Marcus Ericsson, Sam Bird and Leimer all took their turn at the top of the timesheets, and with the usual pitstops now staggered because of the red flag there seemed to be more space than ever for the drivers to find their own grooves. Until around 20 minutes in, that is, when Stefano Coletti and Cecotto came together at turn one, with the Monegasque driver breaking his wing in the process to his clear displeasure.
Palmer had been on the pace all session, and claimed his prize with 8 minutes to go: his rivals had little answer, and were perhaps mindful of avoiding damage with qualifying only hours away, although Bird popped up to third with 5 minutes to go. He displaced Stéphane Richelmi, Tom Dillmann, Coletti, Julian Leal, Simon Trummer, Ericsson and Alexander Rossi with just one second covering the top 17 positions, this afternoon’s qualifying session promises to be dramatic.
 
Monza – Free Practice
 
Driver
Team
Laptime
Laps
1.
Jolyon Palmer
Carlin
1:32.120
12
2.
Fabio Leimer
Racing Engineering
1:32.123
11
3.
Sam Bird
RUSSIAN TIME
1:32.351
11
4.
Stéphane Richelmi
DAMS
1:32.501
13
5.
Tom Dillmann
RUSSIAN TIME
1:32.502
10
6.
Stefano Coletti
Rapax
1:32.532
12
7.
Julian Leal
Racing Engineering
1:32.586
11
8.
Simon Trummer
Rapax
1:32.634
13
9.
Marcus Ericsson
DAMS
1:32.711
12
10.
Alexander Rossi
EQ8 Caterham Racing
1:32.743
12
11.
James Calado
ART Grand Prix
1:32.863
13
12.
Adrian Quaife-Hobbs
Hilmer Motorsport
1:32.877
13
13.
Mitch Evans
Arden International
1:32.951
12
14.
Dani Clos
MP Motorsport
1:32.966
11
15.
Felipe Nasr
Carlin
1:33.029
12
16.
Jake Rosenzweig
Barwa Addax Team
1:33.045
11
17.
Jon Lancaster
Hilmer Motorsport
1:33.067
12
18.
Daniel Abt
ART Grand Prix
1:33.092
13
19
Rio Haryanto
Barwa Addax Team
1:33.172
10
20.
Nathanaël Berthon
Trident Racing
1:33.174
13
21.
Sergio Canamasas
EQ8 Caterham Racing
1:33.369
11
22.
Johnny Cecotto
Arden International
1:33.389
11
23.
Daniel De Jong
MP Motorsport
1:33.447
12
24.
Vittorio Ghirelli
Venezuela GP Lazarus
1:33.465
13
25.
Rene Binder
Venezuela GP Lazarus
1:33.943
12
26.
Sergio Campana
Trident Racing
1:34.448
12