GASLY LEADS THE WAY IN FREE PRACTICE
Frenchman sets the pace in Sepang
The penultimate round of the 2016 GP2 season kicked off in the best possible way for Series leader Pierre Gasly: the Red Bull protégé set the fastest laptime of the Free Practice session this afternoon at Sepang International Circuit with a laptime of 1:42.352. Antonio Giovinazzi and Raffaele Marciello completed the top three.
The session opened in hot temperatures as the twenty-one drivers fed onto the track on Hard Pirelli tyres. DAMS’ driver Nicholas Latifi set the early pace with a laptime of 1:44.381 but he did not remain top for long as Gasly soon went P1 with a laptime of 1:43.748. His teammate and closest title rival Giovinazzi moved up to P2, 0.6s slower than Gasly.
With twenty-one minutes left on the clock, the Frenchman bettered his own laptime in a 1:42.577 and remained unchallenged at the top of the standings. With three green sectors, Giovinazzi also improved on his own personal best and closed the gap to Gasly but it was not enough to take P1.
The session was trouble-free while all of the drivers were focused on learning this layout – a new venue for most of them. Gasly had a small scare after he locked up and went off at Turn 9 but he re-joined safely. In the dying minutes, Giovinazzi found again some extra pace to close the gap to Gasly, only 0.123s adrift of the Frenchman.
At the chequered flag, Marciello, Jordan King, Norman Nato, Oliver Rowland, Artem Markelov, Nobuharu Matsushita, Luca Ghiotto and Alex Lynn completed the top ten. As the weather is known for being unpredictable in Malaysia, tomorrow’s Qualifying session promises to deliver great battles.