Gabby Chaves back on top at Silverstone
Once again it was Addax Team’s rookie Gabby Chaves who was the quickest man on track at Silverstone Circuit, after setting the best time of 1:50.799 on day two of second 2011 official GP3 Series testing.
With rain forecast for the afternoon session, the teams all hit the track when the lights turned green in the morning to make the most of the dry conditions. However, the session was less than smooth, with a flurry of red flags breaking up the running. RSC Mücke Motorsport’s Michael Christensen was the early pace setter posting a time of 1:51.242, two tenths quicker than yesterday’s fastest man Chaves. He was later bumped off the top spot by teammate Nigel Melker. The MW Arden duo of Simon Trummer and Mitch Evans were also on the pace, as were Atech CRS GP’s Marlon Stockinger and Jenzer’s Nico Müller.
By the mid-way point, it was MW Arden’s turn to lead the pack with British driver Lewis Williamson setting a best time of 1:50.894, followed by Christensen, Müller and Melker. But by the end of the session, it was Chaves who showed his potential for the season. The young 17-year-old American snatched the top spot from Williamson and his time remained unbeaten until the chequered flag dropped. In the dying minutes of the session, raindrops started to fall on the track, and would intensify during the lunch break.
Sure enough, it was a rain affected afternoon for the field. It was again the opportunity for the young bloods to get more mileage on wet weather tyres. The tricky track conditions resulted in several red flags. Lotus ART’s Valtteri Bottas and James Calado led the pack for the first half of the session, before Status GP’s Alexander Sims posted a laptime that ensured him the top spot ahead of Chaves, Bottas and Evans.
With twenty minutes remaining, the track was still damp, but times were slowly dropping. Williamson went top and later bettered his time. As the rest of the field prepared for one last assault on track, a final red flag prematurely ended proceedings. At the chequered flag, the MW Arden driver remained the quickest man of the afternoon session ahead of Sims, Carlin’s Tom Dillmann, Chaves and Bottas.
The test will continue tomorrow at 09:00 am local time.