GP3 Series championship leader Valtteri Bottas continued his blistering recent form in the sole free practice session this morning at Spa-Francorchamps.
Series newcomer Richie Stanaway was the first to set a quick lap time after the session got underway, the promising New Zealander keen to get his first run in ART's car. One of the championship contenders, Nigel Melker, then went quickest.
He didn't remain there for long though as Bottas, who has finished on the podium in all of the last four races, winning two of them, moved ahead. The Finn remained ahead as a number of his rivals fought over second place.
His teammate James Calado held the position mid-session, before Adrian Quaife-Hobbs and then Mitch Evans took the place. Rain in the closing stages prevented any of the top positions changing hands.
Bottas ended on top ahead of Evans, Calado, Quaife-Hobbs and Antonio Felix da Costa. Melker was sixth ahead of Alexander Sims, Simon Trummer, Michael Christensen and Ivan Lukashevich.
Stanaway finished in 21st, with fellow debtants Alex Fontana, replacing Vittorio Ghirelli at Jenzer, and Daniel Mancinelli, in for Luciano Bacheta at Mucke, ending up 27th and 28th respectively in their first taste of the GP3 car.
GP3 usually has two practice sessions on a Friday, but noise curfews at the Belgian circuit meaning an earlier end to proceedings than at other circuits, preventing a second session for the GP3 grid. This session was extended from 30 to 45 minutes as a result.
|1||Valtteri Bottas||Lotus ART||2:14.546||9|
|2||Mitch Evans||MW Arden||2:14.826||0.280||12|
|3||James Calado||Lotus ART||2:15.093||0.547||11|
|4||Adrian Quaife-Hobbs||Marussia Manor Racing||2:15.274||0.728||12|
|5||Antonio Felix da Costa||Status Grand Prix||2:15.343||0.797||13|
|6||Nigel Melker||RSC Mucke Motorsport||2:15.492||0.946||14|
|7||Alexander Sims||Status Grand Prix||2:15.495||0.949||14|
|8||Simon Trummer||MW Arden||2:15.510||0.964||14|
|9||Michael Christensen||RSC Mucke Motorsport||2:15.733||1.187||14|
|10||Ivan Lukashevich||Status Grand Prix||2:15.851||1.305||14|
|11||Matias Laine||Marussia Manor Racing||2:15.917||1.371||14|
|12||Lewis Williamson||MW Arden||2:15.931||1.385||17|
|13||Nick Yelloly||Atech CRS GP||2:15.957||1.411||8|
|14||Aaro Vainio||Tech 1 Racing||2:16.013||1.467||13|
|15||Tom Dillmann||Addax Team||2:16.015||1.469||13|
|16||Rio Haryanto||Marussia Manor Racing||2:16.038||1.492||13|
|17||Marlon Stockinger||Atech CRS GP||2:16.203||1.657||13|
|18||Tamas Pal Kiss||Tech 1 Racing||2:16.205||1.659||13|
|19||Zoel Amberg||Atech CRS GP||2:16.245||1.699||16|
|21||Richie Stanaway||Lotus ART||2:16.453||1.907||13|
|22||Nico Muller||Jenzer Motorsport||2:16.614||2.068||16|
|23||Dean Smith||Addax Team||2:16.833||2.287||11|
|25||Gabby Chaves||Addax Team||2:17.037||2.491||15|
|26||Maxim Zimin||Jenzer Motorsport||2:17.044||2.498||15|
|27||Alex Fontana||Jenzer Motorsport||2:17.277||2.731||17|
|28||Daniel Mancinelli||RSC Mucke Motorsport||2:17.385||2.839||14|
|30||Thomas Hylkema||Tech 1 Racing||2:18.755||4.209||12|