Frenchman heads morning session with last-gasp lap
Giuliano Alesi drew first blood in the GP3 Series Free Practice session at Silverstone, Great Britain, topping the timesheets with a 1:46.492 at the death of the morning’s running to take the early advantage. The Trident driver’s lap overhauled that of Niko Kari, as the Finn beat his MP Motorsport teammate Dorian Boccolacci – who completed the top three.
The session began in cool, sunny conditions, and the already-bulging Silverstone crowd were first greeted with the presence of ART Grand Prix drivers Jake Hughes and Nikita Mazepin. Before full-speed running got underway, a virtual safety car test took place before the opening laps were set – Boccolacci heading the early timing boards until the drivers started to circulate at a more representative pace – ART’s Callum Ilott bringing the times into the 1m50s.
Alesi then raised the bar, finding almost two seconds over Ilott’s time before Mazepin edged his way ahead of the Frenchman. Boccolacci then found his way to the top of the pile after a Pedro Piquet spin left the Trident driver facing the wrong way at Becketts, but Alesi soon regained control of the session and brought the pace into the 1m47s – immediately spinning at turn 1 before quickly recovering.
Trident continued to control the session as Lorandi found three tenths over Alesi’s time, and the Italian found even more pace inside the final fifteen minutes – scorching his way to a trio of purple sectors. Arden International’s Joey Mawson then put Lorandi in the shade, breaking into the 1m46s moments before trading best times with Kari. Boccolacci then claimed top spot with a minute left on the clock, looking set to head an MP 1-2 before Alesi surged to first with a last-gasp 1:46.492 laptime at the chequered flag.
Kari beat Boccolacci to second in the final stages, as Mawson held on for fourth place ahead of Lorandi. Leonardo Pulcini (Campos Racing) claimed sixth place, 0.005s faster than Jenzer Motorsport’s David Beckmann. Piquet recovered from his earlier spin to take eighth, as Julien Falchero (Arden) and Diego Menchaca (Campos) completed the top ten.