GP3 tests have got under way in Budapest as teams up and down the paddock get to grips with the GP3/13 before the next round in Valencia in just more than a weeks time.
The new cars also brought a new lap record as Estonian driver Kevin Korjus set a 1:32.530 in his Koiranen GP racer in the morning session before light rain set in for the afternoon’s running.
With many surprised that the heavy rain of the day before lifted to temperatures of a mild 15˚C all 27 drivers present shook down the cars before breaking off into separate runs of race simulations/tyre wear tests and pit stop practices respectively.
The early pace was set by Patric Niederhauser as he clocked the first lap of the GP3 test at a 1:34 until MW Arden’s Daniil Kvyat led the pack slowly nibbling chunks out of the fastest lap time.
One team that showed strong pace are GP3 newcomers Bamboo Engineering who have shown that their WTCC pace and expertise can be transferred into the world of single seaters. Their drivers Melville McKee and Lewis Williamson finished third and second respectively with Carmen Jorda finishing down in 27th having not set a lap.
That strong pace continued over into the afternoon session as Scottish born Williamson finished first having clocked a 1:33.710 as many GP3 regulars struggled with a damp track following light rain during the lunch break.
The first to be caught out, and the first to bring out the red flag, was Adderly Fong in his Status Grand Prix car. After the delay while Fong’s car was recovered from the gravel trap at turn ten another man who fancied having a spin was Marussia Manor Racing’s Dino Zamparelli who went off at turn three and hit the barriers for good measure.
As the session got going proper Indy 500 participant Connor Daly led the early pace for ART Grand Prix led for a time until the lead switched hands numerous times as points leader Tio Ellinas was leading at the half way mark.
Of course it was Williamson who took the honours as the checkered flag dropped with Kvyat taking second and Nick Yelloly third for Carlin.
A piece of interesting news coming from the paddock in Hungary is that Sky Sports F1 will be broadcasting qualifying and both races from Valencia live. The channel does not usually broadcast stand alone events and instead opts for races that run on a Formula One weekend.