Marcus Ericsson's morning time of 1:29.705s proved to be the fastest time of anyone all day at the Circuit de Catalunya near Barcelona, Spain, as GP2 teams got down to the first of two days of testing of both equipment and prospective drivers.
The top times were all set in the morning session in dry and sunny conditions. A number of drivers had their turn at the top of the timings early as lap times improved with the circuit cleaning up nicely and starting to rubber in as more cars took to the track. Ericsson's iSport team mate for the day Tom Dillmann was first to the the top and then GP3 graduates Kevin Magnussen (Carlin) and Nigel Melker (Ocean) popped up to the top on their hard compound Pirelli P Zero GP2 tyres.
After the midway point of the morning stint, the times started to get dominated by the GP2 old hands with Ericsson the first to dip under the 90s mark and go four-tenths faster than Alexander Rossi had been able to manage in the Caterham Team AirAsia. Ericsson's time would remain unbeaten for the rest of the day, while Dani Clos (Coloni), Esteban Gutierrez (Lotus ART), Kevin Ceccon (Coloni) and Nigel Melkur all managed to improve their times to under the 1:30s mark before lunch.
Tom Dillmann just missed out on that feat by 0.025s, and was slower in the hot afternoon conditions with a best laptime of 1:30.210s - but as no one else was setting faster times by then, he was a comfortable half a second ahead of Gutierrez, Melkur, Rossi and Ceccon. All these times were set in the cooler last half hour of the day's activity; Antonio Felix Da Costa had topped the times up till then and finished in sixth place in the Lotus ART with a 1:30.860s.
Dams driver Rio Haryanto brought out a red flag fifteen minutes before the end of the session when he drifted wide and ended up in the gravel. It was the only caution of the day's proceedings.
Thursday will see a second full day of testing starting at 9am local time, albeit with a different line up
as some drivers move around, some drop out, and new faces arrive elsewhere. Rain could prove to be be a factor through the day.
The GP2 Final event will take place at Yas Marina Circuit on the same weekend that the F1 Grand Prix of Abu Dhabi is held there, November 11-13. After the weekend, the F1 teams will then hold their 'Young Driver' tests which traditionally give a number of the GP2 field a chance to show what they can do in an F1 car: Esteban Gutierrez and Fabio Leimer have already been handed a chance
by the Sauber team, and
Full timings from test day 1