Vandoorne tops Abu Dhabi Practice

Stoffel Vandoorne

Image credit – GP2 Media Service

The beautiful Abu Dhabi sun shone brightly over the Yas Marina Circuit for the start of the final Practice session of the year. Perfect conditions for Nicholas Latifi to make his debut and for Conor Daly and Kevin Giovesi to make their comebacks.

Track and air temperatures were very cold at the start of the session but so were the brakes on Felipe Nasr’s Carlin car; the Brazilian locked up heavily into turn eight and almost ruined his front left tyre. Fast laps came very quickly and and didn’t stop for about ten minutes. Johnny Cecotto set the first flying lap with a 1:51.867 but it was 2014 Champion Jolyon Palmer who took eight tenths of a second out of the Venezuelan’s time soon after.

Traffic in the final part of the lap has always been a problem for GP2 in Abu Dhabi and Raffaele Marciello learnt that very well on his first racing visit to the Emirates. Ten drivers all looking for track space held up the Italian driver and ruined his promisingly fast lap. Arthur Pic and his compatriot from France Pierre Gasly had no such traffic issues when they went P2 and P3 respectively.

On his final weekend in GP2, Stéphane Richelmi beat the sector one time by two tenths and his advantage at the start of the laps helped him go second in the standings come the end of the session.

First blood went to Stoffel Vandoorne in the battle for the honour of being Vice-Champion as the Belgian topped Practice by just over half a tenth of a second.

Position Driver Team Gap
1 S. Vandoorne ART Grand Prix 1:50.437
2 S. Richelmi DAMS 0.075
3 A. Pic Campos Racing 0.111
4 J. Palmer DAMS 0.323
5 J. Cecotto Trident 0.418
6 F. Nasr Carlin 0.474
7 R. Marciello Racing Engineering 0.575
8 P. Gasly Caterham Racing 0.595
9 S. Coletti Racing Engineering 0.685
10 M. Evans RT RUSSIAN TIME 0.700
11 K. Sato Campos Racing 0.750
12 M. Sørensen MP Motorsport 0.964
13 N. Berthon Venezuela GP Lazarus 0.965
14 R. Haryanto Caterham Racing 0.990
15 S. Canamasas Trident 1.005
16 J. Leal Carlin 1.027
17 T. Izawa ART Grand Prix 1.105
18 A. Markelov RT RUSSIAN TIME 1.221
19 D. De Jong MP Motorsport 1.335
20 A. Negrão Arden International 1.494
21 R. Binder Arden International 1.569
22 N. Latifi Hilmer Motorsport 1.748
23 C. Daly Venezuela GP Lazarus 1.884
24 K. Giovesi Rapax 1.893
25 J. Lancaster Hilmer Motorsport 2.077
26 S. Trummer Rapax 14.225
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