The inaugural Practice session at the Sochi Autodrom took place under gloriously sunny skies and around the 2014 Winter Olympic venues.
Each and every driver took to the track at the first opportunity to see what the Russian circuit had to offer. Jolyon Palmer set a blistering initial pace which was untouched by his rivals. 1:48.846 was the DAMS driver’s first lap time and it put him more than one second ahead of Sergio Canamasas and the other 24 men.
Tio Ellinas was already showing his worth on his return to the Series with early lap times good enough to settle within the top ten. The Cypriot driver ended his first session in GP2 since June in tenth place.
The 45 minute session was heading towards half distance when Belgian Stoffel Vandoorne moved up into the top spot. Felipe Nasr – having struggled with grip in the early stages – cemented his authority in the top three alongside Vandoorne and Palmer. The Brazilian got too optimistic on the brakes soon after and almost speared into the back of Sergio Canamasas at the second corner.
The aforementioned second corner was catching a lot of drivers out. Felipe Nasr, Johnny Cecotto, Mitch Evans and Simon Trummer all suffered big lock ups into the hard braking area and damaged their tyres and lap times.
In the closing minutes of the session Arthur Pic exploited the extra grip laid down on the track and moved into P1. His lap time stood for a few seconds until Jolyon Palmer spoilt the Frenchman’s show and took top spot by a mind blowing half a second.
|4||Vandoorne||ART Grand Prix||0.657|
|5||Evans||RT RUSSIAN TIME||0.680|
|8||Berthon||Venezuela GP Lazarus||0.944|
|13||Izawa||ART Grand Prix||1.391|
|23||De Jong||MP Motorsport||2.193|
|25||Campana||Venezuela GP Lazarus||2.540|
|26||Markelov||RT RUSSIAN TIME||2.624|