Giuliano Alesi was fastest overall in what was a quiet rain-affected Practice Session which saw most of the Formula 2 championship contenders staying in the pit lane.
Trident’s Marino Sato had a less than an ideal start as the Japanese driver spun his car driving into Turn 1, thanks to a mixture of cold tyres and steady rain.
A light drizzle in the opening minutes of the session caught out Callum IIott and Nobuharu Matsushita who both having hair raising moments.
Dan Ticktum had a tormenting start to the weekend spinning at Turn 13 stalling his DAMS in the process, bringing out the yellow flags.
Luca Ghiotto ventured out on slicks to check if the track was dry enough to use them for practice. The Italian ended his experiment after just one reconnaissance lap.
Race control later declared the circuit “wet”, meaning that wet tyres, not slicks were the order of the day.
Felipe Drugovich and Artem Markelov checked track conditions with the Brazilian peeling off into the pitlane after one lap.
Markelov set a lap time of 1.48.407. With the track drying out the Russian was able to go fastest in what had been a quiet session so far.
HWA teammate Giuliano Alesi quickly beat that time with the Frenchman recording a 1.45.926 – just over two tenths faster than the Russian.
With just under 13 minutes left in the session only Alesi, Sato, Markelov, Roy Nissany and Guilherme Samaia had set a lap time.
Sato split the two HWA drivers with a time of 1.47.664 – just under two seconds behind Alesi.
Samaia had the added challenge of having to learn the circuit in the steady rain, with the Brazilian struggling to hold onto his Campos through Turn 14.
While many struggled with the conditions, Alesi pounded around the circuit getting his laps in whilst getting used to the wet-dry conditions.
Jack Aitken ventured out on track to put in a lap. The Williams junior driver set a time of 1.47.100 – good enough for second fastest overall but 1 second behind the rapid, Alesi.
The top five fastest drivers of what had been a rather quiet practice session, were Alesi, Aitken, Sato, Markelov, and Louis Delétraz.
Samaia, Nissany and Matsushita were the only other drivers to set a lap time.
Everyone outside the top 10 were unclassified.
* Image Credit: FIA F2 (C) Formula Motorsport Limited