Addax Team’s rookie Gabby Chaves was the fastest man out on track today, after setting the best time of 1:51.449 on day one of official GP3 Series testing at Silverstone Circuit.
The GP3 Series teams gathered for the second of three pre-season tests, and were greeted with dry and sunny conditions this morning in Northamptonshire. Status Grand Prix was first to take to the track, with Antonio Felix Da Costa setting the benchmark time for the rest of the field. The Portuguese driver topped the time sheets until his laptime was bettered at the two-hour mark by reigning champions Lotus ART and newcomer Valtteri Bottas.
The remainder of the session was relatively quiet for the thirty strong young guns, until a final ten minute dash, which saw the Finn improve his personal best time with a 1:51.608 lap ahead of MW Arden’s Lewis Williamson and Simon Trummer. Any hope the rest of the field had of a last minute fight for the top spot were dashed when a red flag caused by Adrian Quaife-Hobbs thirty seconds from the end of the session halted proceedings. The chequered flag was shown and the top final top ten was set: Bottas, Williamson, Melker, Trummer, Muller, Costa, Quaife-Hobbs, Stockinger, Calado and Nunes.
After a rain-affected test in France just over three weeks ago the teams were no doubt hoping for a dry day of running today, but by the time the lights turned green in the afternoon the weather had turned with clouds appearing overhead. Sophomore driver Nico Mller was the early pace setter for Jenzer with a laptime of 1:51.596, while Chaves, Quaife-Hobbs, Williamson and rookie James Calado rounded out the top five.
However, shortly after the second red flag of the day – caused by MW Arden’s Mitch Evans – it was rookie Chaves who laid down the gauntlet to the rest of the field. The young American lapped the track two thousandths of a second quicker than the poletime set by Champion Esteban Gutièrrez in 2010. However, the arrival of rain meant the American’s laptime was to go unchallenged as the rest of the afternoon was run under damp conditions. There was one final red flag of the afternoon caused by Carlin’s rookie Kotaro Sakurai.
The test will continue tomorrow at 09:00 am local time.