CLICK: Full GP2 practice results from Hockenheim
Stefano Coletti looked determined to maintain the momentum of his podium finish at Silverstone as he proved the fastest man on track in the 45-minute GP2 practice session at a baking Hockenheim in Germany on Friday.
The Racing Engineering driver spent the mid-part of the session duelling for the top honurs with ART's Stoffel Vandoorne, but a lap of 1:24.771s for Coletti put the matter beyond doubt leaving the Belgian unable to close the 0.110s margin required to put him top.
Coletti's team mate Raffaele Marciello continued his strong run of form to claim third place with a time of 1:25.154s, putting him just 0.023s ahead of Alexander Rossi, who is subbing for Kimiya Sato at Campos Racing this week after himself splitting from Caterham following the team's recent buy-out and re-organisation.
Conor Daly spent much of the session at the bottom of the time sheets, but a final run just four minutes from the end vaulted the Venezuela GP Lazarus up to fifth with a lap of 1:25.228s, likely with the help of an extra set of new tyres to put him ahead of DAMS' Stephane Richelmi. Daly's team mate Nathanaël Berthon also recorded a big late improvement to move up to seventh place ahead of Carlin's Felipe Nasr and Trident's Johnny Cecotto Jr.
DAMS' Jolyon Palmer had been the first man to record a representative flying lap during practice with a time of 1:25.494s to put him initially ahead of Trident's Sergio Canamasas. However the championship leader was unable or perhaps simply disinclined to improve on that time for the rest of the session and ended up classified in 12th place, while Canamasas finished practice down in 16th place.
Tom Dillmann, replacing Rossi in the Caterham #19, ended the session in 21st place, wedged between two British drivers Jon Lancaster (Hilmer Motorsport) and Adrian Quaife-Hobbs (Rapax).
There were no major incidents during practice, although Julian Leal brought out the yellow flags on the sweeping turn 5 when his Carlin ground to a halt and needed to be retrieved. Marco Sorensen also needed a helping hand when his MP Motorsport car stopped at the entrance to the pit lane, and Arthur Pic was in the same situation in his Campos Racing car as the chequered flag came out.
There were an assortment of minor run-offs as the drivers got used to the 2.842-mile, 17-turn circuit with Canamasas among those to have a moment through turn 1 and Cecotto locking up and running off completely at turn 2. Russian Time pair Artem Markelov and Mitch Evans both found problems at the entry to the stadium complex, Markelov off-roading through the gravel while Evans had an uncomfortable time of it bounding over the kerbing.
GP2 qualifying takes place at 3.55pm local time (2.55pm BST) with the 38-lap feature race 1 due to start on Saturday afternoon at 3.40pm (2.40pm BST) following qualifying for the F1 Grand Prix of Germany. The 27-lap sprint race 2 will be held on Sunday morning at 10.35am (9.35am BST) and all sessions will be shown live in the UK on Sky Sports F1
Practice for the GP3 field gets underway on Friday evening at 5.50pm local time (4.50pm BST) with qualifying on Saturday morning at 9.45am (8.45am BST). Race 1 is scheduled for 5.20pm (4.20pm BST) on Saturday afternoon and race 2 for 9.25am (8.25am BST) on Sunday morning.
See full GP2 practice results from Hockenheim