Silverstone F2: Ferrari F1 junior Leclerc fastest ahead of Rowland

Ferrari Formula 1 junior driver Charles Leclerc led the way in Formula 2 practice at Silverstone ahead of his nearest championship challenger Oliver Rowland

Silverstone F2: Ferrari F1 junior Leclerc fastest ahead of Rowland

Leclerc moved to the top of the times early on in the 45-minute session, which was held on Thursday afternoon instead of its usual Friday slot as part of an experiment with the timetable of the support races at Silverstone.

DAMS driver Nicholas Latifi was the first man to improve on that time, before Leclerc improved to retake first place.

Rowland, who is targeting an improved qualifying performance in front of his home crowd, moved to the top spot as the session approached its halfway mark, but Leclerc hit back almost immediately with a time of 1m40.793s to go back to top spot once more.

That time was the benchmark across the mid-session lull, but Prema Racing driver Leclerc was able to improve again during the second half and ended up with a best time of 1m40.695s.

Rowland also bettered his best time to a 1m41.010s, but wound up 0.315 seconds adrift of Leclerc, who is chasing a record-equalling sixth consecutive qualifying pole position in the F1 support category.

Russian Time driver Luca Ghiotto was third fastest, ahead of Latifi and Red Bull Ring race two winner Artem Markelov.

Sergio Canamasas was sixth for Rapax with Briton Jordan King - a winner at Silverstone last year in the series' previous GP2 guise - seventh at his home track.

Nyck de Vries ended up eighth ahead of Arden International's Norman Nato, who lost a piece of bodywork from the right-hand side of his car as he headed down the Hangar straight just before the halfway point after it had been flapping around during the early stages.

Louis Deletraz rounded out the top 10 for Racing Engineering.

Antonio Fuoco was 13th in the second Prema-run car, ahead of the ART Grand Prix pair Nobuharu Matsushita and Alexander Albon.

The third British driver in the field - European Formula 3 racer Callum Ilott, who is making his F2 debut in a one-off appearance for the Trident squad - finished in 18th place.

PRACTICE TIMES:

Pos Driver Team Time Gap Laps
1 Charles Leclerc Prema Racing 1m40.695s - 17
2 Oliver Rowland DAMS 1m41.010s 0.315s 18
3 Luca Ghiotto RUSSIAN TIME 1m41.247s 0.552s 16
4 Nicholas Latifi DAMS 1m41.283s 0.588s 17
5 Artem Markelov RUSSIAN TIME 1m41.316s 0.621s 17
6 Sergio Canamasas Rapax 1m41.328s 0.633s 17
7 Jordan King MP Motorsport 1m41.329s 0.634s 19
8 Nyck de Vries Rapax 1m41.359s 0.664s 20
9 Norman Nato Pertamina Arden 1m41.377s 0.682s 19
10 Louis Deletraz Racing Engineering 1m41.631s 0.936s 18
11 Sergio Sette Camara MP Motorsport 1m41.660s 0.965s 16
12 Gustav Malja Racing Engineering 1m41.742s 1.047s 13
13 Antonio Fuoco Prema Racing 1m41.755s 1.060s 16
14 Nobuharu Matsushita ART Grand Prix 1m41.824s 1.129s 18
15 Alexander Albon ART Grand Prix 1m41.885s 1.190s 17
16 Sean Gelael Pertamina Arden 1m42.224s 1.529s 19
17 Ralph Boschung Campos Racing 1m42.284s 1.589s 15
18 Callum Ilott Trident 1m42.314s 1.619s 17
19 Nabil Jeffri Trident 1m42.317s 1.622s 17
20 Robert Visoiu Campos Racing 1m42.677s 1.982s 18


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