In grey, overcast and cold conditions - but, crucially, also dry - Romain Grosjean set the first genuinely fast time of the Friday morning practice session at the Nurburgring for GP2's German round.
His 1:41.448s was a second faster than the Lotus ART duo of Esteban Gutierrez and Jules Bianchi, and ten minutes into the session he shaved off another second off this time to set a benchmark of 1:40.484s in the Dams car, which was still nearly a second ahead of Bianchi's next improved time of 1:41.326s, now ahead of Racing Engineering's Dani Clos.
After a mid-session lull while the cars came in for pit stops for everyone to regroup, tweak settings and get new tyres - and a new front wing in Sam Bird's case - everyone was back out again for the last seven or eight minutes of the 30 minute practice period.
Neither Grosjean nor Bianchi were able to improve on their earlier times, but Dani Clos put in a lap of 1:41.222 to slip in between them for second before the chequered flag came out. The rest of the field were by now focusing on race set-ups and few recorded any improvements on their earlier times.
Adam Carroll was only 22nd in his return to GP2 after a three year hiatus, replacing Luca Filippi at Super Nova. Filippi - who has switched to Scuderia Coloni for his 100th GP2 start in the wake of Kevin Ceccon's decision to stand down and focus on his Auto GP campaign - was fourth fastest, despite a near-miss incident mid-session through the chicane with Giedo van der Garde, who was recovering slowly to the pits with a mechanical gremlin. The matter was put under stewards' investigation.
Davide Valsecchi's practice ended early when he ran wide and went off at turn 15 to make contact with the barrier, damaging the front wheel of the Team AirAsia car and leaving him sitting out the remaining ten minutes of the session.
Full times and positions