Andy Soucek topped the first Formula 2 practice session of the year at Valencia this morning.
The Spaniard comes into the season as one of favorites for the title and began his season in good form, lapping the Ricardo Tormo circuit more than three tenths of a second quicker than anyone else.
"I just pushed for one lap initially and the time came quite easily," said Soucek. "On the second lap I went another tenth quicker. I'm feeling very happy. It's still doesn't determine how the race will go, but it's good to be at the front."
Formula Renault graduate Tobias Hegewald finished the half-hour session second fastest, the only driver within half a second of Soucek's benchmark.
Red Bull's trio of drivers all finished the session in the top six, with Canada's Robert Wickens third, Mirko Bortolotti fifth and Mikhail Aleshin sixth, surrounding Milos Pavlovic in fourth.
The session was red-flagged once, mid-way through, when Henri Karjalainen spun off. The only other casualty was Pietro Gandolfi, whose car had to be recovered after he went off at Turn 4.
Pos Driver Time Gap
1. Andy Soucek 1m27.800s
2. Tobias Hegewald 1m28.174s +0.374
3. Robert Wickens 1m28.377s +0.577
4. Milos Pavlovic 1m28.593s +0.793
5. Mirko Bortolotti 1m28.664s +0.864
6. Mikhail Aleshin 1m28.674s +0.874
7. Edoardo Piscopo 1m28.802s +1.002
8. Henry Surtees 1m28.822s +1.022
9. German Sanchez 1m28.844s +1.044
10. Carlos Iaconelli 1m28.850s +1.050
11. Kazim Vasiliauskas 1m28.861s +1.061
12. Natacha Gachnang 1m29.056s +1.256
13. Alex Brundle 1m29.217s +1.417
14. Julien Jousse 1m29.230s +1.430
15. Philipp Eng 1m29.403s +1.603
16. Sebastian Hohenthal 1m29.696s +1.896
17. Henri Karjalainen 1m29.718s +1.918
18. Jens Hoing 1m29.924s +2.124
19. Jason Moore 1m29.943s +2.143
20. Jolyon Palmer 1m30.226s +2.426
21. Tom Gladdis 1m30.398s +2.598
22. Jack Clarke 1m30.632s +2.832
23. Nicola de Marco 1m31.928s +4.128
24. Pietro Gandolfi 1m32.446s +4.646
25. Armaan Ebrahim no time