Bottas leads opening GP3 practice
6 May 2011 – Finland’s Valtteri Bottas led the way on a wet Friday morning as GP3 hosted its first practice session of the year at Istanbul Park. At the end of the half-hour period, which ran between 8:45 and 9:15am local time, the Lotus ART driver achieved a best effort of 1:52.295, edging out The Netherlands' Nigel Melker and Britain’s Luciano Bacheta.
The additional session allowed bonus laps for a number of drivers making their debuts in the series, presented with the challenge of an already challenging circuit - made only more taxing by today’s weather.
Rio Haryanto of Indonesia was first to lead the way for Marussia Manor, the team run by the same Manor Racing behind Virgin’s Formula 1 team.
Bottas - Williams F1 reserve driver - moved ahead as the session progressed into its second half, shortly before yellow flags punctuated the action as Atech CRS newcomer Zoël Amberg came to a halt. With ten minutes remaining, Bottas led the way from Britain’s Dean Smith, Haryanto and Kiwi Mitch Evans of MW Arden.
As the end of the session neared, Columbian Gabby Chaves moved ahead for Addax; this was followed by an immediate response from Bottas, who retook the position he had held for the majority of the session. Behind, Bacheta surprised all with third, having been confirmed on the grid as a late entry.
GP3’s second practice begins at 4:50pm local time (BST +2)