Gutierrez leads Masters practice

Mexican rookie Esteban Gutierrez drew first blood in the Masters of Formula 3 at Zandvoort by setting the fastest time in free practice this morning

Gutierrez leads Masters practice

Reigning Formula BMW Europe champion Gutierrez leapt to the top of the timesheet in the final minute of the half-hour session for reigning Euro Series champion and recent Masters dominator ART. His Dallara-Mercedes' 1m32.354s best out-did his reigning Formula Renault Eurocup champion team-mate Valtteri Bottas, who set a similarly late best time, by just 0.055 seconds.

"It was quite a good session, but my focus was to learn the circuit because it's my first time here," said Gutierrez.

"The circuit is quite challenging, with a lot of fast corners, so I just tried to stay out the whole time and learn.

"I am not confident in this result because it is only practice, but I can still find some time in the details of the car and my confidence. I want to win the event and this is a good start."

F3 veteran Sam Bird (Mucke) set the third fastest time to make him the top Briton in free practice. He also set his best lap late, and was just 0.139s shy of the pace.

Euro Series race winner Jean Carl Vernay (Signature) was the quickest Volkswagen runner in fourth, while the winner of the Euro Series' season opening race at Hockenheim, Stefano Coletti (Prema Powerteam), was fifth.

Reigning Master of Formula 3 Jules Bianchi (ART) rounded out the top six, four tenths shy of his pace-setting team-mate and just 0.004s clear of Dutch home hero Renger van der Zande (Hitech), who has previous Euro Series experience and was the top British series runner in seventh.

Reigning McLaren Autosport BRDC Award winner Alexander Sims (Mucke) set the ninth fastest time, 0.268s clear of British F3 championship leader Daniel Ricciardo (Carlin), who was 12th fastest. Less than a second covered the top 13 drivers.

Pos Driver Team Car Time Gap 1. Esteban Gutierrez ART D/M 1m32.354s 2. Valtteri Bottas ART D/M 1m32.409s + 0.055s 3. Sam Bird Mucke D/M 1m32.493s + 0.139s 4. Jean-Karl Vernay Signature D/V 1m32.598s + 0.244s 5. Stefano Coletti Prema D/M 1m32.660s + 0.306s 6. Jules Bianchi ART D/M 1m32.755s + 0.401s 7. Renger van der Zande Hitech D/M 1m32.759s + 0.405s 8. Christian Vietoris Mucke D/M 1m32.778s + 0.424s 9. Alexander Sims Mucke D/M 1m32.918s + 0.564s 10. Adrien Tambay ART D/M 1m33.112s + 0.758s 11. Henkie Waldschmidt SG D/M 1m33.170s + 0.816s 12. Daniel Ricciardo Carlin D/V 1m33.186s + 0.832s 13. Basil Shaaban Prema D/M 1m33.309s + 0.955s 14. Atte Mustonen Motopark D/M 1m33.377s + 1.023s 15. Mika Maki Signature D/V 1m33.564s + 1.210s 16. Roberto Merhi Manor D/M 1m33.690s + 1.336s 17. Carlos Huertas Double R D/M 1m33.758s + 1.404s 18. Andrea Caldarelli SG D/M 1m33.769s + 1.415s 19. Marco Wittmann Mucke D/M 1m33.792s + 1.438s 20. Matteo Chinosi Prema D/M 1m33.865s + 1.511s 21. Tiago Geronimi Signature D/V 1m33.928s + 1.574s 22. Max Chilton Carlin D/V 1m34.120s + 1.766s 23. Jake Rosenzweig Carlin D/V 1m34.141s + 1.787s 24. Laurens Vanthoor Carlin D/V 1m34.186s + 1.832s 25. Daniel Zampieri BVM D/H 1m34.272s + 1.918s 26. Henry Arundel Carlin D/V 1m34.466s + 2.112s 27. Victor Garcia Fortec D/M 1m34.529s + 2.175s 28. Christopher Zanella Motopark D/M 1m34.553s + 2.199s 29. Pedro Nunes Manor D/M 1m34.630s + 2.276s 30. Francesco Castellacci Manor D/M 1m34.728s + 2.374s 31. Walter Grubmuller Hitech D/M 1m34.850s + 2.496s 32. Daisuke Nakajima Double R D/M 1m34.895s + 2.541s 33. Riki Christodoulou Fortec D/M 1m35.500s + 3.146s 34. Alexandre Marsoin SG D/M 1m35.555s + 3.201s 35. Cesar Ramos Manor D/M 1m36.573s + 4.219s 36. Samuele Buttarelli Carlin D/V - 
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