GP2

Hamilton on top in the preview of Valencia

The winter tests of GP2 Series came to the end today in Circuit Ricardo Tormo of Valencia where Lewis Hamilton set the pace followed by Nelson A. Piquet and Jose Maria Lopez. The category will have this weekend the season opener round on the ...

The winter tests of GP2 Series came to the end today in Circuit Ricardo Tormo of Valencia where Lewis Hamilton set the pace followed by Nelson A. Piquet and Jose Maria Lopez. The category will have this weekend the season opener round on the Spaniard racetrack.

With uncharacteristic clouds hanging low in the sky, the temperatures stayed low this morning. The temperatures stayed down this afternoon, as light spots of rain fell towards the end of the afternoon. The rain never fell hard enough to merit wet tyres as the potential downpour that had been forecasted instead manifested itself in light spitting.

Hamilton, who completed 74 laps today, put the car of ART Grand Prix in the top once again with a laptime of 1m18s625. The British driver lower by 0.7-seconds from yesterday's best time that was also in his hands.

With the pace that was shown during all the pre-season tests and especially in the last two days in Valencia, Hamilton looks as the main candidate to take the victory in his weekend debut in the series.

Hamilton, who counts the support of McLaren boss's Ron Dennis, had a gap of over half a second over his closer rival. A difference that might scare many people in the paddock of GP2.

Second place belonged to Piquet with a laptime of 1m19s012 after 65 laps today with a Dallara-Renault of Piquet Sports.

The Brazilian suffered some gearbox problems in the final session of the day, although he was able to set the top spot of the afternoon with 1m19s445.

In his first time racing in Valencia, Piquet looks strong for this season in which the title is the target for the son of the former three-times Formula One World Champion, Nelson Piquet.

Argentinean Jose Maria Lopez was able to improve yesterday's work and clocked 1m19s069 to take a strong third place and wait with confidence the official activity of the weekend.

Lopez, a member of the Renault Driver Development program, completed 74 tours today with the Super Nova International car.

Adrian Valles, has suddenly emerged as a regular challenger for the top spots. His Campos Racing team are based here in Valencia, as is the Spaniard himself, and a strong opening weekend could well be on the cards for the pairing. Valles marked 1m19s102 after 82 laps.

Another Brazilian driver was in top five as Luca Di Grassi set 1m19s173 with the best Durango. Italian Gianmaria Bruni took sixth place and was followed by three French drivers with Olivier Pla, Alexandre Premat and Nicolas Lapierre. The Venezuelan racer, Ernesto Viso, completed the top ten fastest places in Valencia.

Thirteen drivers ended up with only a margin of one second while separating them, the top 25 were less than two seconds. The fight head-to-head seemes to be guaranteed in the opening round of the second GP2 series season.

Tomorrow is a free day for the drivers and teams, as they prepare for the race weekend which begins on Saturday morning. Tomorrow night however will see the launch of the GP2 series in the heart of Valencia itself.

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About this article
Series GP2
Drivers Gianmaria Bruni , Lewis Hamilton , Nelson Piquet , Olivier Pla , Nicolas Lapierre , Alexandre Prémat , Jose Maria Lopez , Adrian Valles , Ernesto Viso
Teams ART Grand Prix , Campos Racing