F2 testing report - Jolyon Palmer on top
Jolyon Palmer ensured he ended the final pre-season test of 2010 at the top of the timesheets after a series of blistering laps in the closing stages of the day.
Palmer's late surge meant fellow Briton Dean Stoneman had to settle for second spot, with Johan Jokinen and Philipp Eng close behind. The result completes an impressive pre-season for Palmer, who also topped the morning session today and the first day of testing at Snetterton.
Times quickly tumbled in the final session as the overboost facility - which gives drivers an extra 55bhp for six second spells - was actuated, and several drivers occupied the top spot as the session progressed.
At the midpoint of the session it appeared Philipp Eng had done enough to clinch the fastest lap, the Austrian setting a best effort of 1:37.198s. In the final ten minutes Eng dropped to fourth, however, as Palmer, Stoneman and Jokinen all managed to trump his initial benchmark.
Behind Eng, a trio of British drivers accounted for fifth through to seventh as Will Bratt, Tom Gladdis and Jack Clarke ensured all five Britons finished inside the top seven. Bratt posted his fastest time, a 1:37.313s, on his final tour of the circuit, pipping Gladdis to fifth spot by just over two hundredths of a second, whilst Clarke edged out Italy's Nicola De Marco by just 0.024s to claim seventh.
Behind De Marco, Russia's Sergey Afanasiev and Romanian Mihai Marinescu completed the top ten. Armaan Ebrahim finished 11th, missing out on a top ten berth by just two thousandths of a second - the narrowest gap in the entire field.
Jolyon Palmer said: "It has been another really good day and this one is probably more important being as we have an event here at the weekend. Having topped three of the four sessions today, I am certainly more confident this year and I am pushing a lot harder. I really want to win this weekend now and I think it's possible. Prior to pre-season I would have been happy getting a few podiums but now I feel I can aim higher than that."
Dean Stoneman said: "It wasn't too bad today. I am here to aim for the title, but I suppose we will know more at the weekend. We will have to wait to see what the situation is come the race weekend as we don't who was on new tyres today, but it went pretty well. This is a good circuit for the F2 car - I haven't done too many laps before on the Grand Prix circuit, but it felt good and I'm looking forward to the weekend."
Johan Jokinen said: "I have never raced here or even seen the place before - except on the TV of course! It took a few laps to get used to the circuit but I felt pretty good after the first session and was ready to start pushing harder. Of course, the overall times are not that important yet and the main focus has been to find a set-up that works for me, while also being fast at the same time, and we seem to be very close on both fronts."
Formula Two Test - Silverstone, United Kingdom, 12 April - Overall Combined Results:
1. Jolyon Palmer, 1:36.576s
2. Dean Stoneman, +0.113s
3. Johan Jokinen, +0.451s
4. Philipp Eng, +0.622s
5. Will Bratt, +0.737s
6. Tom Gladdis, +0.759s
7. Jack Clarke, +0.968s
8. Nicola De Marco, +0.992s
9. Sergey Afanasiev, +1.028s
10. Mihai Marinescu, +1.113s