Jolyon Palmer was fastest in free practice of the GP2 Series round at Sochi on a weekend where the Briton could clinch the title.
The DAMS driver was more than half a second clear of the pack in Russia, with Frenchman Arthur Pic second for Campos Racing, while Andre Negrao was an impressive third for Arden International.
Stoffel Vandoorne was on the pace early in the session for ART Grand Prix, heading the times before Palmer took over, and the Belgian eventually slipped to fourth at the end.
Russian Time driver Mitch Evans was fifth ahead of the second Campos Racing machine of Kimiya Sato, who is still searching for his first points of the season despite having clinched this seasons Auto GP World Series title.
Johnny Cecotto Jr survived a spin to set the seventh fastest time for Trident Racing ahead of Venezuela GP Lazarus driver Nathanael Berthon.
Palmer’s main championship rival Felipe Nasr was a lowly ninth for Carlin, while series returnee Tio Ellinas was tenth for Rapax as he stands in for the injured Adrian Quaife-Hobbs this weekend.
Sochi Free Practice Times
|2||Arthur Pic||FRA||Campos Racing||1:46.618|
|3||Andre Negrao||BRZ||Arden International||1:46.623|
|4||Stoffel Vandoorne||BEL||ART Grand Prix||1:46.740|
|5||Mitch Evans||NZL||RT Russian Time||1:46.763|
|6||Kimiya Sato||JAP||Campos Racing||1:46.781|
|7||Johnny Cecotto Jr||VEN||Trident Racing||1:46.889|
|8||Nathanael Berthon||FRA||Venezuela GP Lazarus||1:47.027|
|11||Jon Lancaster||GBR||Hilmer Motorsport||1:47.394|
|12||Rio Haryanto||INO||Caterham Racing||1:47.452|
|13||Takuya Izawa||JAP||ART Grand Prix||1:47.474|
|14||Raffaele Marciello||ITA||Racing Engineering||1:47.589|
|15||Stefano Coletti||MON||Racing Engineering||1:47.667|
|16||Marco Sorensen||DEN||MP Motorsport||1:47.672|
|17||Pierre Gasly||FRA||Caterham Racing||1:47.702|
|18||Sergio Canamasas||ESP||Trident Racing||1:47.857|
|19||Daniel Abt||GER||Hilmer Motorsport||1:47.862|
|22||Rene Binder||AUT||Arden International||1:47.965|
|23||Daniel de Jong||NED||MP Motorsport||1:48.276|
|25||Sergio Campana||ITA||Venezuela GP Lazarus||1:48.623|
|26||Artem Markelov||RUS||RT Russian Time||1:48.707|