Giedo van der Garde has opened this weekend's GP2 round at Monza by topping this morning's free practice session.
The Barwa driver set his best time of 1m30.654sec midway through the session and managed to retain his place at the top of the timing sheets until the checkered flag, finishing 0.175sec clear of Addax's Sergio Perez. Luca Filippi was third-quickest for iSport ahead of ART's Sam Bird.
Runaway series leader Pastor Maldonado's hopes of securing the championship in Italy got off to a ragged start when he was stripped of his best time for cutting the Turn 1 chicane. That left him languishing in 21st until the final moments of the session, when he managed to haul himself up to seventh.
Two drivers are making their series debut this weekend and both got things off to low-key starts, with Trident's Edoardo Piscopo finishing up 22nd – the Italian managing to finish the session despite ripping his rear wing off in a clash with DPR's Michael Herck – and Coloni's Brendon Hartley 23rd.
Arden's Charles Pic was the morning's only casualty, the French driver crashing at the Parabolica on his second lap.