GP3 became the last series racing in the Formula 1 paddock to begin testing ahead of its 2017 season with two days of action at Estoril on March 22-23.
The tests allowed some drivers to get back in a groove with their machines, get to know more of their new teams or new series and examine DRS for the first time ahead of its debut in the new season.
A number of interesting conclusions can be found from analysis of the data gathered over the two days.
Russell with fastest time of test
Mercedes F1 junior George Russell set the fastest time of the test on the afternoon of the first day with a 1m27.606s.
The majority of the fastest times were found in this session, with just Jack Aitken (ART) and Ryan Tveter (Trident) finding better on the second afternoon.
ART’s Nirei Fukuzumi had the second-best time (1m27.685s) ahead of Campos’ Raoul Hyman (1m27.705s) with just these three drivers entering the 1m27 bracket.
Fellow ART team-mates Anthoine Hubert (1m28.113s) and Jack Aitken (1m28.125s) added themselves to the list of top-five times during the tests.
Russell’s lap is just 0.313s slower than last year’s best from Trident’s Antonio Fuoco in a dry session, although there are weather differences between the two sessions to take into account. The 2016 time was set on a track hit with sunshine while 2017’s time was discovered on a track which had been washed by rain in the morning.
Fastest drivers from each team
Russell, Niko Kari (Arden), Giuliano Alesi (Trident), Santino Ferrucci (DAMS), Alessio Lorandi (Jenzer) and Raoul Hyman (Campos) all set the majority of the best times for their teams during the sessions.
Compiling an average of the fastest lap from every session gives Russell an average of being 0.319s faster than Fukuzumi, 0.652s faster than Hubert and 0.703s quicker than Aitken on the timesheets.
Kari leads Steijn Schothorst by 0.156s and Leonardo Pulcini by 0.548s, with Alesi ahead of Dorian Boccolacci (0.625s), Ryan Tveter (1.313s) and Kevin Joerg (1.343s).
Ferrucci is on average 0.465s ahead of Bruno Baptista and 0.652s clear of Tatiana Calderon, while Lorandi leads Maini by a median of 0.754s.
Hyman has the largest averages of any driver due to having a massive lead when topping the timesheets on the morning of day one. His average gap is 2.360s over Marcos Siebert and 3.639s over Julien Falchero.
Maini and Arden spend most time on track respectively
A total of 2493 laps were added to the 19 GP3 machines during the two days, but Maini completed the most laps of any driver during the four sessions (175), gathering at least 38 laps in each session.
Baptista collected the next best total of 156, ahead of Lorandi (148) and Siebert (141). Joerg and Tveter are at the bottom of the list with 109 and 108 respectively, although Tveter did not set a single lap time during the afternoon of the first day.
In terms of laps by a team, ART has the highest collective total of 509 (20.42% of the total amount) with its four drivers, with Trident managing 450 (18.05% – four drivers) and DAMS gathering 430 (17.24% – three drivers).
Campos lapped the track 414 times (16.61% – three drivers), with Arden claiming 367 (14.72% – two drivers) and Jenzer at the bottom of the list with 323 (12.96%) from its two drivers.
The majority of the drivers should return to action in the second test of GP3’s pre-season period at the Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya on April 18-19 to continue their development ahead of the season starting at the track on May 12-14.