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Bottas quickest in Barcelona practice

Valtteri Bottas, ART, Catalunya practice 2011Valtteri Bottas set the pace in the first GP3 practice session of the weekend at Barcelona.

The ART Grand Prix driver was one of several runners to wait until the second half of the session before setting a representative time. But once he went quickest after 22 minutes, he remained there until the end.

The Finn's best lap came during a flurry of activity in the middle of the 30-minute session where most of the best times were set. There were very few improvements in the closing stages, partly due to drivers struggling to get clear track as they all backed off in the final sector of the lap and held each other up.

Mitch Evans enjoyed a brief spell at the top before Bottas relegated him to second, but the MW Arden driver would not be beaten by anyone else. James Calado was only fractions slower than Evans, and the Briton made it two ART cars in the top three.

Rio Haryanto was fourth quickest, ahead of the session's early pacesetter Lewis Williamson. The McLaren AUTOSPORT BRDC Award winner was one of the only drivers to get to work on setting quick times in the first part of practice, and he set a sequence of laps that were good enough to lead the way in the first 15 minutes.

Dean Smith made it three Brits in the top six, ahead of championship frontrunners Andrea Caldarelli and Nigel Melker.

Pos  Driver                  Team       Time       Gap
 1.  Valtteri Bottas         ART        1m38.726s
 2.  Mitch Evans             MW Arden   1m38.834s  + 0.108s
 3.  James Calado            ART        1m38.864s  + 0.138s
 4.  Rio Haryanto            Manor      1m39.128s  + 0.402s
 5.  Lewis Williamson        MW Arden   1m39.169s  + 0.443s
 6.  Dean Smith              Addax      1m39.202s  + 0.476s
 7.  Andrea Caldarelli       Tech 1     1m39.271s  + 0.545s
 8.  Nigel Melker            RSC Mucke  1m39.305s  + 0.579s
 9.  Aaro Vainio             Tech 1     1m39.310s  + 0.584s
10.  Pedro Nunes             ART        1m39.444s  + 0.718s
11.  Adrian Quaife-Hobbs     Manor      1m39.447s  + 0.721s
12.  Matias Laine            Manor      1m39.522s  + 0.796s
13.  Michael Christensen     RSC Mucke  1m39.569s  + 0.843s
14.  Tamas Pal Kiss          Tech 1     1m39.719s  + 0.993s
15.  Marlon Stockinger       Atech CRS  1m39.788s  + 1.062s
16.  Vittorio Ghirelli       Jenzer     1m39.924s  + 1.198s
17.  Nick Yelloly            Atech CRS  1m39.950s  + 1.224s
18.  Alexander Sims          Status     1m39.956s  + 1.230s
19.  Gabby Chaves            Addax      1m40.010s  + 1.284s
20.  Nico Muller             Jenzer     1m40.185s  + 1.459s
21.  Zoel Amberg             Atech CRS  1m40.240s  + 1.514s
22.  Daniel Morad            Carlin     1m40.241s  + 1.515s
23.  Leonardo Cordeiro       Carlin     1m40.325s  + 1.599s
24.  Simon Trummer           MW Arden   1m40.359s  + 1.633s
25.  Conor Daly              Carlin     1m40.410s  + 1.684s
26.  Luciano Bacheta         RSC Mucke  1m40.538s  + 1.812s
27.  Dominic Storey          Addax      1m40.623s  + 1.897s
28.  Ivan Lukashevich        Status     1m45.791s  + 7.065s
29.  Maxim Zimin             Jenzer     1m50.154s  + 11.428s
30.  Antonio Felix da Costa  Status
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