Frenchman on top in penultimate Barcelona test session.

Norman Nato grabbed the top spot the morning in the second-last session of the FIA Formula 2 Championship test in Barcelona, defying his rivals halfway through the 3 hour period to stop the clocks at 1:27.834 for the fastest time yet set across the test ahead of Oliver Rowland (0.054) and Alexander Albon (0.105).

The day got underway with more gloriously sunny conditions, and the teams wasted no time in getting their charges on track: unfortunately they were all to return almost immediately when Nato stopped on his outlap. The circuit went green shortly after, but another 2 quick red flag periods were prompted shortly after when first Rowland and then Nyck De Vries also stopped on track.

When the track went green the drivers were chomping at the bit to get a fast lap in, with at least one eye on qualifying later in the year: De Vries set the early pace from Charles Leclerc and Albon, with the Thai driver briefly grabbing the top spot before Nato annexed it at the halfway mark in the session, setting a target that could not be reached by his rivals, despite their best efforts.

Following this most of the teams concentrated on long runs, and the Frenchman’s time was secure. The teams stopped work on track early to concentrate on the data for this afternoon’s session, the final one of this test, which opens earlier than usual at 13.00 CET.

Day 1 Morning results

Driver

Team

Laptime

Laps

1.

Norman Nato

Pertamina Arden

1:27.834

30

2.

Oliver Rowland

DAMS

1:27.888

24

3.

Alexander Albon

ART Grand Prix

1:27.939

30

4.

Nyck De Vries

Rapax

1:28.103

32

5.

Luca Ghiotto

RUSSIAN TIME

1:28.177

30

6.

Artem Markelov

RUSSIAN TIME

1:28.245

44

7.

Sean Gelael

Pertamina Arden

1:28.385

44

8.

Nicholas Latifi

DAMS

1:28.391

24

9.

Charles Leclerc

PREMA Racing

1:28.421

32

10.

Antonio Fuoco

PREMA Racing

1:28.649

30

11.

Sergio Sette Camara

MP Motorsport

1:28.661

28

12.

Ralph Boschung

Campos Racing

1:28.673

40

13.

Johnny Cecotto

Rapax

1:28.692

21

14.

Louis Delétraz

Racing Engineering

1:28.811

33

15.

Jordan King

MP Motorsport

1:28.816

18

16.

Gustav Malja

Racing Engineering

1:28.837

27

17.

Sergio Canamasas

Trident

1:28.859

25

18.

Nobuharu Matsushita

ART Grand Prix

1:28.901

26

19.

Roberto Merhi

Campos Racing

1:29.486

23

20.

Nabil Jeffri

Trident

1:29.643

23

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