Raffaele Marciello has got his Silverstone weekend under way in fine style by claiming the top spot in this morning's free practice session and heading a 1-2 for Racing Engineering, with teammate Stefano Coletti and Alexander Rossi rounding out the top three positions.
The Ferrari Academy driver set a best time of 1:41.127 two-thirds of the way into the session, edging past his previous best time to hold onto the top of the timesheets by just over a tenth from the Monegasque driver in a tight session that saw 14 drivers within a second of the top spot.
The session got underway in sunny, and very windy, conditions, with Johnny Cecotto setting the first competitive time as the tires got up to temperature, but it wasn't to last: championship leader Jolyon Palmer soon stole the position before the Racing Engineering pair opened a private battle between them.
Marciello held the honors before the field returned to the pits, but it was a close run thing: the top three were split by under a tenth, and it was clear that more was required. When the field returned to the track they were pushing harder, as evidenced by off-track excursions by Palmer and Coletti among others, but it was the Italian who improved his time and claimed the honors.
Behind the top three Palmer, Cecotto, Felipe Nasr (who slowed with a mechanical gremlin as the checkered flag emerged), Stephane Richelmi, McLaren protege Stoffel Vandoorne, Daniiel de Jong and Mitch Evans rounded out the top ten, but with a session so close this afternoon's qualifying session promises sparks.
|1.||Raffaele Marciello||Racing Engineering||1:41.127||16|
|2.||Stefano Coletti||Racing Engineering||1:41.261||14|
|3.||Alexander Rossi||EQ8 Caterham Racing||1:41.274||8|
|8.||Stoffel Vandoorne||ART Grand Prix||1:41.668||18|
|9.||Daniiel De Jong||MP Motorsport||1:41.729||18|
|10.||Mitch Evans||RT RUSSIAN TIME||1:41.737||19|
|13.||Rio Haryanto||EQ8 Caterham Racing||1:41.896||16|
|15.||Conor Daly||Venezuela GP Lazarus||1:42.145||16|
|16.||Daniel Abt||Hilmer Motorsport||1:42.151||20|
|17.||André Negrao||Arden International||1:42.153||15|
|18.||Nathanael Berthon||Venezuela GP Lazarus||1:42.161||17|
|19||Marco Sorensen||MP Motorsport||1:42.209||17|
|21.||Arthur Pic||Campos Racing||1:42.474||17|
|22.||Artem Markelov||RT RUSSIAN TIME||1:42.675||18|
|23.||Kimiya Sato||Campos Racing||1:42.826||18|
|24.||Takuya Izawa||ART Grand Prix||1:42.941||19|
|25.||Jon Lancaster||Hilmer Motorsport||1:43.180||19|
|26.||Rene Binder||Arden International||1:43.316||16|