Antonio Felix da CostaCarlin’s GP3 squad enjoyed a quick opening session ahead of this weekend’s penultimate round of the GP3 Series. Turning 21 today Antonio Felix da Costa was the highest placed man for the majority of the session however ended Free Practice, around the wet Spa-Francorchamps circuit, in second position. Alex Brundle remained in the top five for most of the running while William Buller also had a strong showing despite carrying damage to finish 12th in the tricky conditions.

The so-called unpredictable weather at Spa predictably showered the circuit with a rain storm before and during the early morning GP3 session; heading out on a wet track the difficult conditions immediately became clear with John Wartique heavily crashing into the barriers at Eau Rouge. Although fine himself, the damage to the barriers needed a significant amount of fixing which left the session under red flag conditions for 20 minutes.

When the track went green the conditions had improved vastly which saw the times begin to quickly fall – da Costa had been holding the top spot throughout the disruption. Buller was on the pace in the early laps however his car sustained damage which meant he was unable to get the most out of the improving track.

Da Costa kept his car at the top of the timings with two very quick laps in short succession. Team mate Brundle was lying in fourth however the two Carlin men were the first to take the chequered flag; last gasp laps from Tio Elinas and Conor Daly knocked da Costa to second and Brundle to fifth as the session came to a close. Buller held on to 12th place on the drying track.

Reflecting on the disrupted session da Costa said, ‘There was a big crash early on in the session which brought everybody back into the pits. I was the fastest car before the red flag and we stayed there afterwards too however I caught a little bit of traffic in my last two laps so lost the top spot, but I’m feeling confident going into tomorrow.

‘We’ve got to the stage where we know that the car is quick in each session we go out and I really enjoy driving it so I’m looking forward to hitting the track again!’

Photo by Daniel Kalisz / LAT Photographic.