Davide Valsecchi showed he will be the man to beat for pole position today. The Italian set the best lap time in this morning’s thirty minutes free practice session in Bahrain, a clear 0.6s ahead of Carlin’s Max Chilton.
The second round of the 2012 GP2 Series season opened up in scorching temperatures in Sakhir, Bahrain. Johnny Cecotto was the first driver to take to the track, but it was Felipe Nasr who set the early pace with a 1:42.713, two tenths quicker than his teammate Valsecchi. A few minutes later, Cecotto moved up to P1 with Chilton making his way to P3, splitting up the DAMS pair.
Turn 2 was yellow flagged just before the mid-session as Tom Dillmann stopped on track following mechanical gremlins, and as soon as the track cleared Valsecchi put his head down and flew to P1 in a blazing 1:41.417 edging out Cecotto. The Italian became the only driver to dip under 1m42s. His rivals were then on a mission to catch him. Series leader Luiz Razia moved up to P4 just before the clock showed fifteen minutes remaining in the session.
While most of the drivers made their way back to the pits, Chilton benefitted from a clear track to improve his lap time and take P2 ahead of Nasr. Fabio Leimer also found some extra pace on a traffic-free circuit to claim P5, but later dropped to P6 after Razia improved and moved up to P5. The closing minutes of the session saw very little change in the classification and at the checkered flag Valsecchi remained top ahead of Chilton, Cecotto, Nasr, Razia, Leimer, Esteban Gutiérrez, James Calado, Dani Clos and Fabio Onidi.
The qualifying session will start today at 15.55 local time.
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