Abu Dhabi GP2: Red Bull's Gasly tops practice for finale

Red Bull junior Pierre Gasly started his bid to overhaul Prema team-mate Antonio Giovinazzi and win the GP2 title by topping practice for the Abu Dhabi season finale

Abu Dhabi GP2: Red Bull's Gasly tops practice for finale

Gasly, overlooked for a 2017 Toro Rosso Formula 1 drive, trails Giovinazzi by seven points.

The 20-year-old claimed top spot inside the first 15 minutes with a time of 1m51.096s, despite being one of many to have lurid moments on what appeared to be a slippery track surface.

That stood until Giovinazzi improved to a 1m51.067s with a little over 10 minutes to go, which put Giovinazzi 0.029 seconds up.

Gasly responsed quickly, setting the weekend's first sub-1m51s lap, a 1m50.940s.

His new benchmark stood for the rest of the session, with DAMS driver Alex Lynn popping into second place inside the final five minutes with a 1m51.002s.

That demoted Giovinazzi to third, 0.127s slower than his team-mate, although a run of other quick laps suggests he has consistently strong pace on the prime medium Pirelli.

Nobuharu Matsushita led the way briefly early in the 45 minutes but did not improve thereafter and wound up fourth.

The only other driver in - albeit slim - title contention Raffaele Marciello set the 11th-fastest time.

Marciello is 39 points behind Giovinazzi in the championship, and essentially needs to win both races with neither Prema driver scoring any points.

Racing Engineering team-mates Norman Nato and Jordan King were fifth and seventh, split by Oliver Rowland, while Johnny Cecotto Jr, Sergey Sirotkin and Nicholas Latifi rounded out the top 10.

The only driver to strike trouble was Mitch Evans, whose Campos Racing-run Dallara stopped at Turn 7 midway through the session.

The Jaguar Formula E racer wound up in 14th place, two spots ahead of Emil Bernstorff on debut with Arden.

Making his first GP2 appearance with Carlin, Renault protege and Formula V8 3.5 runner-up Louis Deletraz finished the session in 21st place, 2.710s off the pace set by Gasly.

PRACTICE RESULTS:

Pos Driver Team Time Gap Laps
1 Pierre Gasly Prema Racing 1m50.940s - 16
2 Alex Lynn DAMS 1m51.002s 0.062s 18
3 Antonio Giovinazzi Prema Racing 1m51.067s 0.127s 19
4 Nobuharu Matsushita ART Grand Prix 1m51.149s 0.209s 19
5 Norman Nato Racing Engineering 1m51.687s 0.747s 17
6 Oliver Rowland MP Motorsport 1m51.700s 0.760s 18
7 Jordan King Racing Engineering 1m51.795s 0.855s 16
8 Johnny Cecotto Jr. Rapax 1m51.873s 0.933s 18
9 Sergey Sirotkin ART Grand Prix 1m51.892s 0.952s 17
10 Nicholas Latifi DAMS 1m51.964s 1.024s 18
11 Raffaele Marciello RUSSIAN TIME 1m52.005s 1.065s 17
12 Artem Markelov RUSSIAN TIME 1m52.281s 1.341s 17
13 Sergio Canamasas Carlin 1m52.385s 1.445s 17
14 Mitch Evans Pertamina Campos Racing 1m52.477s 1.537s 7
15 Luca Ghiotto Trident 1m52.664s 1.724s 17
16 Emil Bernstorff Arden International 1m52.751s 1.811s 20
17 Gustav Malja Rapax 1m52.762s 1.822s 19
18 Daniel de Jong MP Motorsport 1m52.987s 2.047s 17
19 Sean Gelael Pertamina Campos Racing 1m53.077s 2.137s 15
20 Nabil Jeffri Arden International 1m53.185s 2.245s 16
21 Louis Deletraz Carlin 1m53.650s 2.710s 17
22 Philo Paz Armand Trident 1m53.808s 2.868s 18

shares
comments
Hilmer Motorsport plans GP2 return in 2017
Previous article

Hilmer Motorsport plans GP2 return in 2017

Next article

Pierre Gasly grabs crucial GP2 pole position for title-deciding weekend

Pierre Gasly grabs crucial GP2 pole position for title-deciding weekend
Load comments
Ranking the top 10 F2 and F3 drivers of 2021 Plus

Ranking the top 10 F2 and F3 drivers of 2021

With a veritable feast of feeder series talent in 2021, FIA Formula 2 and Formula 3 produced some of its most exciting racing yet. Although Prema Racing drivers once again dominated the respective series, drivers from other teams also stole the limelight to mark themselves out as stars of the future, or validate their highly-regarded standing

FIA F2
Dec 22, 2021
How Prema continued its dominance of F1's junior ladder in 2021 Plus

How Prema continued its dominance of F1's junior ladder in 2021

Taking three of the four titles and producing two outstanding champions in the process, Prema Racing remained the team to beat in Formula 1's feeder series in 2021. Team boss Rene Rosin reveals the traits that helped Dennis Hauger and Oscar Piastri to come out on top in Formula 3 and Formula 2

FIA F2
Dec 20, 2021
The F1 junior that has run out of places to prove himself Plus

The F1 junior that has run out of places to prove himself

The dominant force of the junior single-seater ranks finds himself without a drive for 2022, but it isn’t stopping Oscar Piastri from plotting his path to the top. With Alpine potentially set for a driver dilemma for 2023, the newly-crowned Formula 2 champion is ready and waiting for his F1 shot

FIA F2
Dec 14, 2021
What next for the enigma "too politically incorrect" for F1? Plus

What next for the enigma "too politically incorrect" for F1?

Having by his own admission "blown my chances" of reaching Formula 1, Dan Ticktum is facing an uncertain future. A driver of unquestioned ability who has at times been his own worst enemy, can he apply his lessons and rebuild his career hopes?

FIA F2
Sep 30, 2021
How F2's biggest talent could be forced to spend 2022 on the bench Plus

How F2's biggest talent could be forced to spend 2022 on the bench

Tipped as the next big thing after winning the FIA Formula 3 championship in his rookie season, Oscar Piastri has taken Formula 2 by storm and looks set to clinch that title too. But with no Formula 1 seat available to him for next year, the Alpine junior may have to wait for his time in the spotlight…

FIA F2
Sep 24, 2021
How Campos Racing has bounced back from its devastating loss Plus

How Campos Racing has bounced back from its devastating loss

After the sudden death of its founder in January, Formula 2 stalwart Campos Racing was left facing its hardest season to date. But new team boss Adrian Jr is determined to honour his father’s legacy and has returned the team to its winning ways

FIA F2
Sep 20, 2021
How F2 and F3's flawed format changes could prove shortlived Plus

How F2 and F3's flawed format changes could prove shortlived

After a chaotic 2020, marred by the coronavirus pandemic, the FIA brought in radical changes to Formula 2 and 3. But less than 12 months later, there are talks of them being reversed after all did not go to plan…

FIA F2
Sep 9, 2021
The Red Bull F1 junior aiming to defy geographical odds Plus

The Red Bull F1 junior aiming to defy geographical odds

It's a long way from Pukekohe New Zealand to Milton Keynes, but Red Bull's Kiwi protege Liam Lawson has defied plenty of odds to reach the rung below F1. He's endured disappointment since winning on his F2 debut in Bahrain, but is determined to turn his season around and prove himself worthy of a place in F1

FIA F2
Jul 27, 2021