The eighth and final round of the 2011 GP3 Series kicked off this morning with the first of two Friday practice sessions at Autodromo Nazionale Monza, with Nico Muller topping the times sheets. The early morning session took place under clear blue skies and rising temperatures, and Muller claimed the top spot with a time of 1:43. 961 ahead of Marussia Manor Racing’s Adrian Quaife-Hobbs.
The field hit the track with Pirelli P Zero hard compound tires, and it was MW Arden’s Simon Trummer who led the way early on, along with title contender Nigel Melker for RSC Mücke Motorsport. As the drivers got to grips with the high-speed full throttle track the times swiftly dropped, and by midway through the session Quaife-Hobbs was top with Trummer bumped to second. Alexander Sims showed early pace in third for Status Grand Prix.
With the session entering the final stages the Lotus ART duo of Valtteri Bottas and James Calado popped up into the top ten, but couldn’t match the speed of the front runners. Müller however set his quickest time of the session which would go unmatched: the Swiss driver topped his first session since winning at Silverstone Circuit earlier this season. Quaife-Hobbs was second, closely followed by Series leader Bottas and his teammate Calado. Vainio finished fifth for Tech 1 Racing and Lewis Williamson, Marlon Stockinger, Mitch Evans, Tom Dillmann and Michael Christensen rounded out the top ten.
Next up for GP3 is practice 2 later today at 16:50 local time.
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