Esteban Gutierrez on top in 2011 GP2 Friday practice
The experienced GP2 drivers like Gutierrez were fast in opening practice
It was the perfect start to the 2011 GP2 Final in Abu Dhabi for Lotus ART’s Esteban Gutierrez. In the forty five minute long practice session, the Mexican crushed the rest of the field after he clocked in a best lap time of 1:50.458 in the first third of the session with his closest rivals unable to match his pace.
The teams were greeted by dry and warm conditions this morning for the practice session of their last outing in 2011. All twenty six cars fed onto the track as soon as the lights turned green. The first fifteen minutes saw a three-way battle for the top spot between Dani Clos at Rapax, Fabio Leimer at Racing Engineering and iSport’s Tom Dillmann. The GP3 graduate eventually topped the timing sheet just as Julian Leal lost control of his Trident car and slid into the barrier at Turn 19 which ended his session prematurely, prompting the yellow flags.
When the track was clear again, Gutierrez had completed five laps and was sitting at the back of the timesheet. On his next lap, he lit all sectors in purple and went top, 1.5s quicker than Dillmann. The Mexican’s lap time was then never bettered. In spite of their best efforts, Gutierrez’s closest rivals never found the extra pace that would knock him out of P1 and they were left to try and reduce the gap as much as possible. At the checkered flag, it was Leimer who managed to get the closest to Gutierrez, 0.5s off.
Dillmann did not fail to impress on his first GP2 outing lying third ahead of Max Chilton, Clos, Luiz Razia, Nathanael Berthon, Marcus Ericsson and Giacomo Ricci. The Italian however is under investigation along with rookie Nicolas Marroc for ignoring waved yellow flags.
The cars will be back in action this afternoon for the qualifying session at 14.55 local time.
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