Jules Bianchi got his weekend off to the best possible start by topping GP2 free practice in Valencia.

The Frenchman, who has suffered a torrid start to the season despite entering it as a title favourite, claimed top spot in a last minute shootout created by a late red flag.

Bianchi's ART teammate Esteban Gutierrez was the early pacesetter, before joint championship leader Romain Grosjean went quickest.

Josef Kral then spun and stalled his Arden car at Turn 14, bringing out the red flags and forcing everyone to return to the pits.

Grosjean was still on top spot when his DAMS teammate Pal Varhaug stopped at Turn 14 late in the session, signalling another red flag. The track was cleared with three minutes remaining, and Bianchi went quickest of all on the drivers' final attempts.

He shaded Giedo van der Garde by five hundredths of a second, with Luca Filippi third, four tenths away from Bianchi.

Grosjean was pushed down to fourth, two hundredths ahead of countryman Charles Pic. Dani Clos was sixth for Racing Engineering, ahead of Sam Bird, Gutierrez, Davide Valsecchi and Christian Vietoris.

Pos Drivers Teams Time Gap Laps
1 Jules Bianchi Lotus ART 1:47.681   12
2 Giedo Van Der Garde Barwa Addax Team 1:47.736 0.055 11
3 Luca Filippi Super Nova Racing 1:48.114 0.433 9
4 Romain Grosjean DAMS 1:48.189 0.508 10
5 Charles Pic Barwa Addax Team 1:48.206 0.525 10
6 Dani Clos Racing Engineering 1:48.308 0.627 11
7 Sam Bird iSport International 1:48.456 0.775 9
8 Esteban Gutiérrez Lotus ART 1:48.484 0.803 12
9 Davide Valsecchi Caterham Team AirAsia 1:48.520 0.839 11
10 Christian Vietoris Racing Engineering 1:48.707 1.026 10
11 Max Chilton Carlin 1:48.800 1.119 11
12 Álvaro Parente Carlin 1:48.881 1.200 11
13 Michael Herck Scuderia Coloni 1:48.931 1.250 11
14 Marcus Ericsson iSport International 1:48.960 1.279 9
15 Luiz Razia Caterham Team AirAsia 1:49.146 1.465 10
16 Fairuz Fauzy Super Nova Racing 1:49.650 1.969 11
17 Fabio Leimer Rapax 1:49.759 2.078 10
18 Johnny Cecotto Ocean Racing Technology 1:49.805 2.124 11
19 Jolyon Palmer Arden International 1:50.056 2.375 9
20 Rodolfo González Trident Racing 1:50.229 2.548 10
21 Pal Varhaug DAMS 1:50.412 2.731 7
22 Kevin Ceccon Scuderia Coloni 1:50.997 3.316 11
23 Julian Leal Rapax 1:51.238 3.557 10
24 Kevin Mirocha Ocean Racing Technology 1:51.567 3.886 11
25 Josef Král Arden International 1:59.074 11.393 3
26 Stefano Coletti Trident Racing 1:59.640 11.959 9