Red Bull junior Pierre Gasly has finished GP2 pre-season testing on top, setting the fastest time on the final day of running at Bahrain International Circuit.
Gasly, who will test a Formula 1 car for the first time next month with Toro Rosso, led the way in the morning session, which featured qualifying simulations before teams switched their focus to race preparations for circuit’s season opener in a fortnight.
Pirelli’s soft tyres featured from the outset, with Ferrari protege Raffaele Marciello the first man to dip below the 1m40s barrier during the three-day test.
Last year’s Formula Renault 3.5 Series runner-up, Gasly moved to the top of the timesheets an hour into running with a 1m39.632s and the DAMS driver’s benchmark wasn’t bettered as temperatures rose.
In a tight top end, McLaren junior Stoffel Vandoorne was his closest challenger with a time just 0.014 seconds slower, while Mitch Evans, Alexander Rossi and Marciello were all within a tenth of Gasly.
Reigning GP3 champion and Gasly’s team-mate, Alex Lynn was sixth, ahead of day one pacesetter Jordan King.
“For me the three days of testing have been very encouraging,” King said.
“To come here and go quickest on the first day was very positive, firstly because I have never been here before and secondly because GP2 doesn’t have a lot of time before qualifying, so to be able to come to a new circuit and go quickly straight away was quite encouraging.
“Over the next two days we changed a lot of things so we have a lot of data to analyse, so we can now sit down and see what worked and what didn’t and learn which direction to go in.”
After finishing 24th in the morning, Nigel Melker topped the afternoon running with a time of 1m41.566, ahead of Sergey Sirotkin, Rio Haryanto, Gasly and Norman Nato, whose Arden International caused a late red flag when it caught on fire.
|2||Stoffel Vandoorne||ART Grand Prix||1m39.646s||0.014s||21|
|3||Mitchell Evans||RUSSIAN TIME||1m39.679s||0.047s||15|
|4||Alexander Rossi||Racing Engineering||1m39.715s||0.083s||14|
|7||Jordan King||Racing Engineering||1m40.002s||0.370s||16|
|10||Arthur Pic||Campos Racing||1m40.254s||0.622s||21|
|12||Andre Negrao||Arden International||1m40.323s||0.691s||17|
|13||Artem Markelov||RUSSIAN TIME||1m40.356s||0.724s||19|
|14||Norman Nato||Arden International||1m40.416s||0.784s||19|
|16||Rio Haryanto||Campos Racing||1m40.663s||1.031s||15|
|17||Nick Yelloly||Hilmer Motorsport||1m40.685s||1.053s||25|
|18||Nobuharu Matsushita||ART Grand Prix||1m40.860s||1.228s||19|
|20||Sergio Canamasas||MP Motorsport||1m41.101s||1.469s||27|
|22||Daniel de Jong||MP Motorsport||1m41.354s||1.722s||20|
|24||Nigel Melker||Hilmer Motorsport||1m42.628s||2.996s||18|
|25||Richie Stanaway||Status Grand Prix||1m44.799s||5.167s||30|
|26||Marlon Stockinger||Status Grand Prix||1m45.477s||5.845s||32|
|1||Nigel Melker||Hilmer Motorsport||1m41.566s||–||18|
|3||Rio Haryanto||Campos Racing||1m41.707s||0.141s||39|
|5||Norman Nato||Arden International||1m41.970s||0.404s||12|
|8||Nick Yelloly||Hilmer Motorsport||1m42.367s||0.801s||17|
|10||Andre Negrao||Arden International||1m42.694s||1.128s||20|
|11||Arthur Pic||Campos Racing||1m42.736s||1.170s||36|
|13||Jordan King||Racing Engineering||1m44.004s||2.438s||35|
|14||Nobuharu Matsushita||ART Grand Prix||1m44.061s||2.495s||35|
|16||Stoffel Vandoorne||ART Grand Prix||1m44.252s||2.686s||33|
|17||Marlon Stockinger||Status Grand Prix||1m44.506s||2.940s||34|
|18||Daniel de Jong||MP Motorsport||1m44.789s||3.223s||20|
|20||Richie Stanaway||Status Grand Prix||1m45.087s||3.521s||32|
|23||Artem Markelov||RUSSIAN TIME||1m45.441s||3.875s||38|
|24||Alexander Rossi||Racing Engineering||1m45.565s||3.999s||58|
|25||Sergio Canamasas||MP Motorsport||1m45.842s||4.276s||22|
|26||Mitchell Evans||RUSSIAN TIME||1m45.913s||4.347s||26|