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.

Practice times:

Pos Driver Team Time Gap Laps
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
20 Conor Daly Carlin 2:16.429 1.883 15
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
24 Callum MacLeod Carlin 2:17.002 2.456 15
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
29 Leonardo Cordeiro Carlin 2:17.524 2.978 13
30 Thomas Hylkema Tech 1 Racing 2:18.755 4.209 12