Frenchman Esteban Ocon clocked the best time in today’s forty-five minute Free Practice. The ART Grand Prix rookie lapped the quickest time of 1:38.213 which was a mere 0.053s ahead of series leader and Trident Motorsport star Luca Ghiotto. Arden International’s Emil Bernstorff was third.
There are two changes to the driver line-up this weekend: Brandon Maisano driving the #25 machine at Campos Racing and 16 year old Amaury Bonduel behind the number 28 machine at Trident.
Bernstorff was first to head the pack and lap into the 1m40s with his teammate Kevin Ceccon close behind. ART’s Marvin Kirchhöfer was next to lead the way before he and his teammate Ocon exchanged P1.
At the midway point, Kirchhöfer was fastest from Ocon, Matheo Tuscher (Jenzer Motorsport), Bernstorff and Ceccon. Pal Varhaug flew to the top of the timings until Ghiotto was first to dip into the 1m39s.
The drivers were finding their limits, with several running off at Turn 2.
Kirchhöfer was on the attack and rose to P2, four tenths off Ghiotto, before Ocon again topped the timesheet by over half a second. Ghiotto responded to his nearest title rival by bettering his time by two tenths but the Frenchman was not done yet. The ART Grand Prix driver retaliated by posting a laptime 0.053’s quicker than Ghiotto to end the session on top.
At the chequered flag behind Ocon and Ghiotto came: Bernstorff, Matthew Parry (Koiranen GP), Mitchell Gilbert (Carlin), Kirchhöfer, Tuscher, Artur Janosz, Ceccon and Ralph Boschung.
Qualifying takes place at 09.45 am local time tomorrow morning. The four points on pole could prove pivotal in the fight for the title.