It was a promising practice session for the Marussia Carlin GP2 team this morning as Max Chilton and Rio Haryanto took to the track for the first time this weekend; setting the pace to beat while doing so. Recent race winner Chilton set a storming lap in the first half of the session to take him fastest – 0.4 seconds ahead of his nearest competitor. Last weekend’s pole sitter Haryanto was a front runner during the session and ended in eleventh.

In stark contrast to this time last week the Marussia Carlin cars made their way out on a circuit bathed in sun and no sign of the heavy rain that hampered practice at Spa. From the start both Chilton and Haryanto were looking fired up and ready to put the previous round behind them. Haryanto was an early pacesetter placing his car in the top four and holding well in the opening minutes.

However Chilton was on a hot lap and was soon threatening the positions of the fastest drivers on the timing screens. Pulling together a great lap he flew to the top of the order however as the track was getting rubbered in the times were falling rapidly with Luca Filippi knocking the British racer off the top spot. Chilton regained the position almost immediately as the lap times continued to fall.

Meanwhile rookie Haryanto, who has always run successfully around the Autodromo di Monza, was also looking strong and had been setting consistently quick sector times to keep him easily lying within the top eight.

Lighting up the timing screens Chilton was becoming the man to watch on track. Not only had he set the quickest first sector but his second and third sectors were also the fastest, putting the Carlin man P1, over half a second ahead of series veteran and returnee Luca Filippi. The incredible lap, and three separate sectors, was not able to be matched by anyone in the field. Felipe Nasr was closest by the chequered flag, but was still some 0.4 seconds off Chilton’s best effort.

Having come into the pits for a few quick adjustments Haryanto had been lying within the top ten for almost the entire session and took the chequered flag in a strong eleventh position

Seeing his time hold the top spot for the rest of the session Chilton said, ‘It’s great to be back driving on a quick circuit. I had a nice clear track ahead of me with no traffic at all. The car felt brilliant to drive today so I built up lap by lap until I knew that the time was good enough.

‘This afternoon’s obviously the session that counts and hopefully we can get it done there but I’m feeling good going into qualifying.’

Qualifying gets underway this afternoon in Monza at 16:00 local time.