On a beautiful warm and sunny Friday morning at Monza, Luca Filippi was quick to get back to work on his return to GP2 with Scuderia Coloni after a year away. He was one of the first cars out on track for the half hour practice session, along with the likes of Lotus GP duo Esteban Gutiérrez and James Calado. A small number of cars including the Racing Engineering drivers opted to delay their initial runs in the hope of getting clearer runs after the first rush of traffic abated.
Amid the usual harmless run-offs as drivers dialled themselves into to the track, strong laps were recorded early on by Filippi, Marcus Ericsson, Giedo van der Garde and by Stefano Coletti on his début for Rapax after splitting with Coloni. But at the halfway point of the session when the cars came in for their set-up tweaks, the best lap had been set by Carlin's Max Chilton with a 1:31.850s almost half a second ahead of DAMS drivers Felipe Nasr and Davide Valsecchi.
Chilton's time stood for the rest of the session as no one seemed to be really pushing it in the second half of the session, although Filippi did manage to depose Valsecchi for third spot. Valsecchi's rival for the GP2 title, Arden's Luiz Razia, improved to tenth place with a time of 1:32.834s after a sluggish start to the day's proceedings.
With under five minutes remaining, James Calado managed to get knocked into a rear-end spin through Ascari. Although much of his speed was scrubbed off though the gravel trap his Lotus still ended up clouting the barrier with the rear wing and front right suspension, leading to several minutes of of local waved yellows in that section of the circuit. Those yellows had just been withdrawn when Rodolfo Gonzalez lost the Caterham into the gravel at Parabolica to bring out another set of waved yellows that thwarted any further flying laps before the chequered flag dropped.
Nigel Melker finished the session in 23rd place with a lap of 1:33.790s, just six days after his massive accident at Eau Rouge at Spa that had wrecked his race car early in the feature race, but which fortunately left the 21-year-old Dutch driver with only minor bruising and able to take part in this week's race weekend at Monza. Jake Rosenzweig - stepping into the Barwa Addax car this weekend in place of Spa sprint race winner Josef Kral - finished bottom of the times with a lap of 1:34.518s.
Full practice session times