McLaren junior driver Stoffel Vandoorne topped Formula Renault 3.5 free practice in Monaco on Thursday.
The Fortec driver, racing in Monaco for the first time, was one of several rookies to shine in the session before putting in a decisive lap with seven minutes remaining to go fastest. Vandoorne was then involved in a scary incident that brought the session to a premature end with around two minutes remaining.
Mathias Laine started the chain of events when he crashed at Sainte Devote. As marshals got to his car, Zoel Amberg narrowly avoided running into the back of Laine, coming to a stop just behind the Finn.
As the rest of the cars slowly made their way past the incident, Vandoorne then spun on his own at the same corner, and his car clattered into Amberg's.
Fortunately, none of the cars involved collected the marshals, who were trying to attach Laine's car to a crane to get it removed.
Pre-season title favorite Antonio Felix da Costa spent several spells at the top of the times, and he ended the session second ahead of rookie Norman Nato.
Next up was another newcomer, as Red Bull junior and GP3 racer Carlos Sainz Jr. was a surprise front-runner throughout the session on his way to fourth place. The Spaniard, making a one-off appearance in FR3.5 for Zeta Corse to learn the Monaco track, even went quickest for a while in the early stages.
Behind him, the top six was completed by former champion Mikhail Aleshin and current points leader Kevin Magnussen.
Pos Driver Team Time Gap Laps
1. Stoffel Vandoorne Fortec 1m24.711 24
2. Antonio F. da Costa Arden Caterham 1m24.821 + 0.110s 25
3. Norman Nato DAMS 1m24.973 + 0.262s 24
4. Carlos Sainz Jr Zeta Corse 1m24.975 + 0.264s 24
5. Mikhail Aleshin Tech 1 1m24.984 + 0.273s 22
6. Kevin Magnussen DAMS 1m25.060 + 0.349s 23
7. Jazeman Jaafar Carlin 1m25.066 + 0.355s 24
8. Nick Yelloly Zeta Corse 1m25.292 + 0.581s 23
9. Marco Sorensen Lotus 1m25.321 + 0.610s 23
10. Nigel Melker Tech 1 1m25.603 + 0.892s 23
11. Carlos Huertas Carlin 1m25.859 + 1.148s 22
12. Nico Muller Draco 1m26.016 + 1.305s 23
13. Zoel Amberg Pons 1m26.107 + 1.396s 21
14. Christopher Zanella ISR 1m26.255 + 1.544s 25
15. Arthur Pic AV Formula 1m26.260 + 1.549s 24
16. M.Stockinger Lotus 1m26.263 + 1.552s 23
17. Will Stevens P1 1m26.388 + 1.677s 24
18. Daniil Move Comtec 1m26.391 + 1.680s 23
19. N.Martsenko Pons 1m26.419 + 1.708s 24
20. Matias Laine P1 1m26.647 + 1.936s 22
21. Andre Negrao Draco 1m26.700 + 1.989s 22
22. Oliver Webb Fortec 1m26.744 + 2.033s 25
23. Sergey Sirotkin ISR 1m26.970 + 2.259s 23
24. Yann Cunha AV Formula 1m27.192 + 2.481s 25
25. Lucas Foresti Comtec 1m27.875 + 3.164s 22
26. Pietro Fantin Arden Caterham 1m28.292 + 3.581s 23