Lotus ART driver Valtteri Bottas shot a warning to his rivals during today’s 45-minute long free practice and proved he will be one to watch at Spa-Francorchamps this weekend. The Finn set the pace this morning claiming the top spot with a time of 2:14.546 just 0.280 seconds ahead of MW Arden’s Mitch Evans.
The penultimate round of 2011 GP3 Series™ kicked off this morning under clear blue skies, with newcomer Richie Stanaway setting the first quick lap time for his new team Lotus ART. RSC Mücke Motorsport’s Nigel Melker briefly took the top spot, but as the drivers got to grips with the 7.004 km track it wasn’t long before Bottas showed who’s boss – the Lotus ART driver set his quickest time of the session after fifteen minutes moving 0.946 seconds ahead of Melker.
For the remainder of the session it was clear the rest of the thirty strong field would be fighting for second spot, and Bottas’ teammate James Calado took the honors mid-session until Marussia Manor Racing’s Adrian Quaife-Hobbs split the Lotus ART duo.
With just fifteen left in the session Mitch Evans moved up second spot 0.694 behind Bottas and briefly swapped positions with Calado before the New Zealander completed a 2:14.826 lap, just 0.280 behind Bottas. And then the rain came squashing any hopes for the remainder of the field to catch the leading drivers. The session ended with Bottas on top ahead of Evans, Calado, Quaife-Hobbs, Antonio Felix Da Costa, Melker, Alexander Sims, Simon Trummer, Michael Christensen and Ivan Lukashevich who made it all three Status GP cars in the top ten.
Next up for GP3 is qualifying tomorrow morning at 16:50 local time.
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