Jolyon Palmer set the quickest time in free practice for round nine of the GP2 Series at Monza on Friday morning.
Carlin driver Palmer lapped the Italian Grand Prix venue in 1m32.120s, just three thousandths of a second faster than Racing Engineering’s Fabio Leimer.
Palmer was fastest in the first and third sectors, with Leimer gaining his time in the second.
Leimer’s fellow title contender Sam Bird was third quickest for Russian Time. Stephane Richelmi was a late improver, up to fourth for DAMS, as team-mate Marcus Ericsson was only ninth and forced to pull off at Rettifilo near the end of the session.
Bird’s team-mate Tom Dillmann was fifth fastest, ahead of points leader Stefano Coletti, whose session was ruined when he ran into the back of Johnny Cecotto Jr at the exit of Rettifilo, breaking his front wing, an incident that has been referred to the stewards.
The session was previously interrupted after five minutes when Cecotto ran into the gravel at Parabolica and he spun across the track as he tried to rejoin, stranding him sideways in the middle of track and causing a red flag.
Of the other title contenders, Felipe Nasr was only 15th, but aborted a couple of quicker laps. James Calado, fresh from FP1 running with Force India, set the early pace but ended the session 11th.
Other incidents included Sergio Canamasas spinning off at Ascari, Rene Binder’s engine cover coming off, and Jon Lancaster, returning in place of Robin Frijns at Hilmer, going off briefly at Lesmo 2.
Series debutant Sergio Campana, who replaces Ricardo Teixeira at Trident, was slowest, 2.3s off the pace.
Pos Driver Team Time Gap Laps 1. Jolyon Palmer Carlin 1m32.120s 12 2. Fabio Leimer Racing Engineering 1m32.123s +0.003 11 3. Sam Bird Russian Time 1m32.351s +0.231 11 4. Stefano Richelmi DAMS 1m32.501s +0.381 13 5. Tom Dillmann Russian Time 1m32.502s +0.382 10 6. Stefano Coletti Rapax 1m32.532s +0.412 12 7. Julian Leal Racing Engineering 1m32.586s +0.466 11 8. Simon Trummer Rapax 1m32.634s +0.514 13 9. Marcus Ericsson DAMS 1m32.711s +0.591 12 10. Alexander Rossi Caterham 1m32.743s +0.623 12 11. James Calado ART 1m32.863s +0.743 13 12. Adrian Quaife-Hobbs Hilmer 1m32.877s +0.757 13 13. Mitch Evans Arden 1m32.951s +0.831 12 14. Dani Clos MP Motorsport 1m32.966s +0.846 11 15. Felipe Nasr Carlin 1m33.029s +0.909 12 16. Jake Rosenzweig Addax 1m33.045s +0.925 11 17. Jon Lancaster Hilmer 1m33.067s +0.947 12 18. Daniel Abt ART 1m33.092s +0.972 13 19. Rio Haryanto Addax 1m33.172s +1.052 10 20. Nathanael Berthon Trident 1m33.174s +1.054 13 21. Sergio Canamasas Caterham 1m33.369s +1.249 11 22. Johnny Cecotto Jr. Arden 1m33.389s +1.269 11 23. Daniel de Jong MP Motorsport 1m33.447s +1.327 12 24. Vittorio Ghirelli Lazarus 1m33.465s +1.345 13 25. Rene Binder Lazarus 1m33.943s +1.823 12 26. Sergio Campana Trident 1m34.448s +2.328 12