CLICK: Full GP2 practice session results
A sunny and dry day at Silverstone suited the Racing Engineering pair of Raffaele Marciello and Stefano Coletti just fine when it came to practice for this weekend's GP2 round at Silverstone.
Coletti went to the top early, heading the timesheets after the first round of flying laps with a time of 1:42.550s, but times improved quickly from there and Johnny Cecotto Jr. soon beat that by half a second to go top ahead of his Trident team mate Sergio Canamasas.
Jolyon Palmer recovered from an early off-track excursion in his DAMS to post a new benchmark time of 1:41.862s to displace the Tridents from the top, but that was quickly bettered by two tenths by Alexander Rossi in the Caterham. Then it was Racing Engineering's turn to get a proper grip on the proceedings as Marciello immediately went 0.340s faster to go top for the first time; Palmer and Cecotto's responses wasn't enough to wrest the lead back, the DAMS in particular looking to be struggling for handling and locking up under braking.
The next round of flying laps saw Coletti take the top spot from his team mate, but Marciello immediately fought back and responded with a new top time of 1:41.167s to put him just a tenth ahead again. Rossi's attempt to get back on top ended with a spin, but the American was able to ensure the Caterham didn't make contact with the barriers; however his tyres were still badly flatspotted, meaning that he joined those cars already returning to pit road for their first round of set-up tweaks in the 45-minute session.
Once tracy activity resumed, the gusty conditions seemed to catch Palmer out going into turn 1 and the DAMS went bouncing across the kerbs, the championship leader doing well to keep the car under control in the run-off area and avoid doing any more harm to the car. He wasn't the only one to experience the limits of the circuit, Coletti also locking up on the approach to the penultimate corner which meant he ran straight through the gravel and onto the grass at Club.
Marciello managed to improve his time albeit only by four hundredths of a second to keep him ahead of Coletti, Rossi, Palmer, Cecotto and Carlins' Felipe Nasr in sixth place, Stephane Richelmi (DAMS) in seventh and Stoffel Vandoorne (ART) eighth fastest.
With most drivers opting to stick with the P-Zero hard compound tyres, and Rossi opting to call it a day early after his spin, none of the leaders could find any additional speed in the closing quarter of an hour and the positions remained broadly unchanged heading to the chequered flag. There was some last minute low-key drama when Nasr's car lost power coming down the old pit straight, forcing the Brazilian to pull off the track.
Further down the running order, new MP Motorsport driver Marco Sorensen opened his GP2 account with a creditable 19th place in his first session after taking over the race seat from Tio Ellinas, while last minute Hilmer Motorsport call-up Jon Lancaster - who won last year's sprint race at Silverstone - finished practice in 25th position as he scrambled to get back up to speed after not racing since Bahrain.
The qualifying session takes place on Friday afternoon at 3.55pm BST. The 29-lap feature race 1 gets underway on Saturday afternoon at 2.40pm following the end of qualifying for the F1 Grand Prix of Britain, and the start of the 21-lap sprint race 2 is scheduled for 9.20am on Sunday morning. In the UK, GP2 sessions air live on Sky Sports F1
See full GP2 practice session results