GP2: Marciello leads the way at Silverstone

Racing Engineering 1-2 in free practice

Raffaele Marciello has got his Silverstone weekend under way in fine style by claiming the top spot in this morning's free practice session and heading a 1-2 for Racing Engineering, with teammate Stefano Coletti and Alexander Rossi rounding out the top three positions. The Ferrari Academy driver set a best time of 1:41.127 two-thirds of the way into the session, edging past his previous best time to hold onto the top of the timesheets by just over a tenth from the Monegasque driver in a tight session that saw 14 drivers within a second of the top spot.

The session got underway in sunny, and very windy, conditions, with Johnny Cecotto setting the first competitive time as the tyres got up to temperature, but it wasn't to last: championship leader Jolyon Palmer soon stole the position before the Racing Engineering pair opened a private battle between them.

Marciello held the honours before the field returned to the pits, but it was a close run thing: the top three were split by under a tenth, and it was clear that more was required. When the field returned to the track they were pushing harder, as evidenced by off-track excursions by Palmer and Coletti among others, but it was the Italian who improved his time and claimed the honours.

Behind the top three Palmer, Cecotto, Felipe Nasr (who slowed with a mechanical gremlin as the chequered flag emerged), Stephane Richelmi, McLaren protégé Stoffel Vandoorne, Daniiel de Jong and Mitch Evans rounded out the top ten, but with a session so close this afternoon's qualifying session promises sparks.