Nico Muller - Photo Credit: Alastair Staley/GP3 Media Service

In at Trident for one day only, Muller showed the GP3 newcomer's potential - Photo Credit: Alastair Staley/GP3 Media Service

Trident Racing made a good start to their preparations for their debut GP3 Series campaign as Nico Muller posted the fastest time on the opening day of pre-season testing at Estoril.

The Swiss driver, who has finished in the top four overall in both previous GP3 Series seasons for the Jenzer team, is with the Italian outfit in Portugal to use his experience to help them to get up to speed with the car following their takeover of the Addax team's entry.

During the morning it was pre-season favourite Mitch Evans who laid down a rather ominous marker – the MW Arden driver going 0.449 seconds quicker than fellow second-year driver Aaro Vainio of Lotus GP despite only doing seven laps. Tio Ellinas was third for Marussia Manor, ahead of Matias Laine – who has switched from Manor to Arden for the coming season.

Tamas Pal Kiss was fifth for Atech CRS, just ahead of Alexander Sims – present to help out old team Status Grand Prix. Teammate Marlon Stockinger was next up, ahead of 15-year-old GP3 debutant Matheo Tuscher. Muller was ninth, ahead of another man making his debut in the car – South American F3 champion Fabiano Machado of Marussia Manor.

Another driver helping out a former team was local ace Antonio Felix da Costa, 11th fastest in the morning with Carlin. He edged out Conor Daly, running with Lotus, and Status' Micki Weckstrom. Next up were Daniel Abt and David Fumanelli of Lotus and Arden respectively, ahead of Formula Abarth champion Patric Niederhauser and the British Carlin duo of William Buller and Alex Brundle. 16-year-olds Robert Visoiu and Dmitry Suranovich were 19th and 20th respectively, with the Trident duo of Antonio Spavone and Vicky Piria sandwiching 22nd placed American Ethan Ringel. Tech 1 newcomers Robert Cregan and Yuki Shiraishi rounded out the 25 runners.

Lotus GP's trio of Vainio, Daly and Abt controlled the first half of the afternoon session, before Felix da Costa and Evans both moved ahead in the final hour. Muller then took top spot in the final 15 minutes, to record the fastest time of the day. Evans and Felix da Costa completed the top three, ahead of Vainio, Daly and Laine. Ellinas was seventh, Pal Kiss eighth, Fumanelli ninth and the impressive Tuscher tenth.

Sims took eleventh, with Visoiu pipping Abt for 12th – the latter having dropped down the rankings in the closing stages. Machado took 14th ahead of the Status pairing of Stockinger and Weckstrom, with Buller, Suranovich, Spavone and Brundle completing the top 20. The quartet of Piria, Ringel, Cregan and Shiraishi took the next four places, while Niederhauser only managed one lap.

For the second day of the test, the quickest and slowest drivers of today will swap places, with Muller heading to Tech 1 and Shiraishi moving in the opposite direction. At Status, Spain's Nil Montserrat will make his GP3 debut in place of Sims.

Morning session

Pos Driver Team Laptime Laps
1. Mitch Evans MW Arden 1'31.371 7
2. Aaro Vainio Lotus GP 1'31.820 12
3. Tio Ellinas Marussia Manor Racing 1'32.194 15
4. Matias Laine MW Arden 1'32.218 9
5. Tamás Pál Kiss Atech CRS GP 1'32.225 7
6. Alexander Sims Status Grand Prix 1'32.308 26
7. Marlon Stockinger Status Grand Prix 1'32.350 11
8. MathéoTuscher Jenzer Motorsport 1'32.397 25
9. Nico Müller Trident Racing 1'32.405 26
10. Fabiano Machado Marussia Manor Racing 1'32.489 35
11. Antonio Felix Da Costa Carlin 1'32.574 15
12. Conor Daly Lotus GP 1'32.741 14
13. Miki Weckstrom Status Grand Prix 1'32.837 9
14. Daniel Abt Lotus GP 1'32.845 14
15. David Fumanelli MW Arden 1'32.892 9
16. Patric Niederhauser Jenzer Motorsport 1'32.977 28
17. William Buller Carlin 1'32.997 16
18. Alex Brundle Carlin 1'33.007 10
19. Robert Visoiu Jenzer Motorsport 1'33.246 21
20. Dmitry Suranovich Marussia Manor Racing 1'33.912 16
21. Antonio Spavone Trident Racing 1'34.112 23
22. Ethan Ringel Atech CRS GP 1'34.377 21
23. Vicky Piria Trident Racing 1'34.456 11
24. Robert Cregan Tech 1 Racing 1'35.212 15
25. Yuki Shiraishi Tech 1 Racing 1'36.614 8

Afternoon Session

Pos Driver Team Laptime Laps
1. Nico Müller Trident Racing 1'31.285 26
2. Mitch Evans MW Arden 1'31.300 16
3. Antonio Felix Da Costa Carlin 1'31.361 27
4. Aaro Vainio Lotus GP 1'31.461 28
5. Conor Daly Lotus GP 1'31.487 34
6. Matias Laine MW Arden 1'31.498 22
7. Tio Ellinas Marussia Manor Racing 1'31.640 30
8. Tamás Pál Kiss Atech CRS GP 1'31.713 14
9. David Fumanelli MW Arden 1'31.745 33
10. MathéoTuscher Jenzer Motorsport 1'31.867 29
11. Alexander Sims Status Grand Prix 1'31.941 32
12. Robert Visoiu Jenzer Motorsport 1'32.043 30
13. Daniel Abt Lotus GP 1'32.089 28
14. Fabiano Machado Marussia Manor Racing 1'32.203 39
15. Marlon Stockinger Status Grand Prix 1'32.240 24
16. Micki Weckstrom Status Grand Prix 1'32.252 26
17. William Buller Carlin 1'32.677 26
18. Dmitry Suranovich Marussia Manor Racing 1'32.831 33
19. Antonio Spavone Trident Racing 1'32.849 30
20. Alex Brundle Carlin 1'32.993 30
21. Vicky Piria Trident Racing 1'33.383 25
22. Ethan Ringel Atech CRS GP 1'33.535 29
23. Robert Cregan Tech 1 Racing 1'33.911 28
24. Yuki Shiraishi Tech 1 Racing 1'35.125 21
25. Patric Niederhauser Jenzer Motorsport 12.17,532. 1