Title rivals Nico Hulkenberg and Vitaly Petrov were separated by just 0.009sec in today's GP2 practice session in Valencia.
Hulkenberg's best lap of 1.46.871s -- set just moments after Petrov had briefly toppled him from the top of the timesheet -- proved just enough to edge him back into P1 and set the scene for an intriguing qualifying session later this afternoon. The conditions were reminiscent of those experienced at the previous round in Hungary, with track temperatures creeping towards 104 degrees, but the session itself was relatively benign.
Roldan Rodriguez provided a minor spark of excitement and prompted a brief wave of the yellows when he spun at Turn 12, but he was able to continue without any problems.
Davide Valsecchi's first weekend as Romain Grosjean's replacement at Barwa Addax got off to a quiet start, the Italian finishing up 12th -- 1.192sec behind teammate Petrov. It may not have been what he'd hoped for but he was still in better shape than his former team Durango, which failed to complete a flying lap with either of its cars. This sets up an especially difficult qualifying session for GP2 debutant Stefano Coletti.
"It was a gearbox problem � I couldn't change up or down," Coletti told AUTOSPORT. "I came into this weekend never having driven a GP2 car before, and now I have to go into qualifying still not having driven it. It was always going to be a tough weekend, but now it's really tough."
Pos Driver Team Time
1. Nico Hulkenberg ART 1m46.871s
2. Vitaly Petrov Barwa Addax 1m46.880s
3. Pastor Maldonado ART 1m46.974s
4. Karun Chandhok Ocean 1m47.115s
5. Lucas di Grassi Racing Engineering 1m47.328s
6. Luca Filippi Super Nova 1m47.402s
7. Alvaro Parente Ocean 1m47.516s
8. Roldan Rodriguez Piquet 1m47.730s
9. Sergio Perez Arden 1m47.858s
10. Jerome d'Ambrosio DAMS 1m47.937s
11. Javier Villa Super Nova 1m47.986s
12. Davide Valsecchi Barwa Addax 1m48.063s
13. Diego Nunes iSport 1m48.101s
14. Dani Clos Racing Engineering 1m48.110s
15. Edoardo Mortara Arden 1m48.199s
16. Franck Perera DPR 1m48.275s
17. Giedo van der Garde iSport 1m48.308s
18. Kamui Kobayashi DAMS 1m48.394s
19. Alberto Valerio Piquet 1m48.518s
20 Andi Zuber Fisichella 1m48.613s
21. Michael Herck DPR 1m48.925s
22. Diego Rigon Trident 1m49.052s
23. Luiz Razia Fisichella 1m49.376s
24. Ricardo Teixeira Trident 1m51.092s
25 Nelson Panciatici Durango no time
26. Stefano Coletti Durango no time