Venezuelan GP2 veteran Pastor Maldonado made the most of a wet day at the Paul Ricard circuit in southern France yesterday to put his Rapax team at the head of the unofficial timesheet with a fastest afternoon lap of 1:12.987.
The first day of the three-day test kicked off with three hours on wet tyres throughout the three-hour morning session, with the exception of Trident’s newcomer Johnny Cecotto, who gave the slicks a late outing as the track dried.
His reward was the top spot, two and half seconds ahead of Coloni’s Alberto Valerio.
Five drivers chose to do only one installation lap, including iSport’s Davide Valsecchi and Oliver Turvey, Maldonado and his team-mate Luiz Razia, and DPR’s Michael Herck.
The afternoon saw an improvement in conditions and a significant increase in lap times on the dry track – but the session was red-flagged no less than four times.
Maldonado claimed the top spot in the last ten minutes, closely followed by ART rookie Jules Bianchi and Barwa Addax returnee Giedo van der Garde.
The top Brit was Turvey in 10th, sporting his new Racing Steps Foundation livery (pictured) and clocking a time of 1:13.331 in 39 laps. Sam Bird for ART was 13th on 1:13.472 after 29 laps and Ocean’s Max Chilton was 23rd on 1:14.817.
For the day’s full results, visit the GP2 website here.