Carlin’s GP3 drivers made a promising start to the season finale in Abu Dhabi this morning. Alexander Sims finished second overall after being pipped to the top spot by newly confirmed F1 driver Daniil Kvyat by 0.028 seconds in the dying minutes of the session. Sims was joined at the top of the timing screens by team mate Nick Yelloly who was also a front runner throughout the session and ended fourth. Luis Sa Silva was for the majority of the session in the top half of the field and was 17th overall at the flag.

After a lengthy break since the last GP3 race in Monza in September, the GP3 drivers were on track again this morning around the Yas Marina Circuit. As the drivers set their first flying laps, Sims showed intent with an effort which put him fourth, while Sa Silva was just behind in fifth.

As the times started to tumble Yelloly was picking up the pace and went third quickest. 10 minutes into the forty minute session Sim was third, Yelloly fourth and Sa Silva 16th.

After a brief stop in the pits, Sim improved to second and next time round went quicker again to briefly top the timing screens. Both Sims and Yelloly remained competitive as the times dropped with Sims putting in a strong lap to go P1 with only a minute remaining. The Carlin man’s time looked to remain unbeaten until Kvyat posted a purple middle sector to better his effort by 0.028 seconds. Yelloly completed a strong session for the team in fourth place.

Reflecting on practice, Sims said, “It was a good practice session, probably the best of the year so far. We had good pace on used tyres although the car was moving around a little at the rear. We made a small change and when we put the new tyres on the balance was perfect. We’ve started the weekend off on a good footing.”

Fourth place man Yelloly added, “I’m pleased with how it went with this being my first experience of Abu Dhabi. I wasn’t quite up to the maximum on the braking on my fastest lap so there may have been a little bit of time to be gained there. We’ll sit down though and look at the data and see where more time can be made up. Being in the top five in practice is a good start though.”

The GP3 team will be back on track for qualifying tomorrow morning.