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Jolyon Palmer paces Barcelona GP2 practice

Jolyon Palmer picked up where he left off in Bahrain despite the month-long hiatus, as he topped Friday GP2 practice for DAMS at the Circuit de Catalunya, Barcelona.
Full GP2 practice session results

After a month-long break since the season opener in Bahrain, the GP2 teams were pleased to be back in action under cloudless blue skies at the Circuit de Catalunya in Barcelona, with DAMS' Jolyon Palmer and Carlin's Julian Leal keen to keep their early momentum at the head of the championship alive.

It was Palmer who picked up where he had left off and immediately led the early timesheets in the 45-minute session with a time of 1:30.448s on the 2.892 mile, 16-turn track, two tenths of a second faster than Leal's team mate Felipe Nasr.

That left Stephane Richelmi one thousandth of a second behind in the second DAMS, while the rest of the field - headed by ART's Stoffel Vandoorne, Hilmer Motorsport's Daniel Abt, Caterham's Rio Haryanto and Arden's late substitute Tom Dillmann - were left over a eight tenths adrift of the top trio. Eventually Mitch Evans slotted into the middle of the no man's land in fourth place in the #1 Russian Time car, before the the first mid-session lull occurred while the teams fine-tuned their cars from the data gathered so far.

After the intermission, most drivers seemed set on race set-up tests which meant that the top eight remained unchanged, but there was still a chance to run some flying laps in the final five minutes that allowed MP Motorsport's Daniel De Jong vault up to fifth place behind Evans, still half a second off Palmer's benchmark which went unchallenged to the chequered flag.

There had been no major incidents during the session. Johnny Cecotto Jr. had suffered a routine lock-up in the Trident mid-practice, but in the final seconds he then hit the kerbing on the exit of the turn 8 chicane and was bounced into a tail spin. Fortunately the Venezuelan was able to keep the car out of the wall and he soon returned to the pit lane to have the right rear suspension checked for damage.

A brake line failure on the #25 Venezuela GP Lazarus car meant that Conor Daly was unable to resume practice after an initial seven lap run, but his time of 1:31.901s was still enough to leave him classified in 15th position for the session as a whole. Kimiya Sato also encountered some late gremlins when his Campos Racing car died at the pit exit and needed to be rolled back down to the team garage.

Qualifying takes place later on Friday afternoon following the completion of F1 Free Practice 2 at 3.55pm local time (2.55pm BST), with the feature race 1 on Saturday afternoon at 3.40pm (2.40pm BST) and the sprint race 2 on Sunday morning at 10.35am (9.35am BST).

GP3 also returns to action for the first time in 2014 with practice on Friday afternoon at 5.50pm (4.50pm BST), qualifying on Saturday morning at 9.45am (8.45am BST) and race 1 at 5.20pm (4.20pm BST) later the same day. The second GP3 race is first thing on Sunday morning at 9.25am (8.25am BST).

All GP2 and GP3 qualifying and race sessions are carried live in the UK on Sky Sports F1

Full GP2 practice session results now available.

Related Pictures

Click on relevant pic to enlarge
Jolyon Palmer (GBR, DAMS) during qualifying at Bahrain International Circuit on Friday 4 April 2014. (World Copyright: Sam Bloxham/LAT Photographic.)
Jolyon Palmer (GBR, DAMS) in qualifying at the Circuit de Catalunya, Barcelona, Spain. Friday 9 May 2014. (Photo: Sam Bloxham/GP2 Series Media Service.)
Jolyon Palmer (GBR, DAMS) in practice at the Circuit de Catalunya, Barcelona, Spain. Friday 9 May 2014. (Photo: Malcolm Griffiths/GP2 Series Media Service.)
Gustav Malja F2 2017
Nobuharu Matsushita - ART Grand Prix [credit: Formula 2]
Charles Leclerc - PREMA Racing
Charles Leclerc, Prema Racing, F2, Formula 2, Bahrain
Charles Leclerc - PREMA Racing
Charles Leclerc - PREMA Racing
Artem Markelov, F2, Bahrain
Artem Markelov
Norman Nato, Bahrain F2 2017, Formula 2
Charles Leclerc, Prema Racing, Formula 2, 2017
Nabil Jeffri, Team Trident [Credit: Team Trident]
Alexander Albon - ART Grand Prix [GP2 Series]
Gustav Malja - Racing Engineering [credit: GP2 Series]
Pierre Gasly - PREMA Racing
Alex Lynn - DAMS

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