Charles Leclerc has set the pace in the penultimate free practice session of the 2017 FIA Formula 2 Championship this morning at the Circuito de Jerez, topping the timesheets on 1:25.452 halfway through the session before concentrating on race runs to claim the top spot ahead of title rival Oliver Rowland and Nyck De Vries.

The session got underway to gloriously sunny conditions, with Artem Markelov leading all of the field out on track when the green light came on. Rowland set the first competitive lap time 5 minutes into the session but was briefly displaced by Nobuharu Matsushita before reclaiming the top spot, just ahead of Leclerc and De Vries.

The red flags emerged at the 9 minute mark when Ralph Boschung got stranded on the kerbs at turn 10, with all of his rivals returning to the pits as the marshals got to work on removing the stricken car. The session was green 9 minutes later, with Leclerc heading straight out to claim the top spot before everyone got to work on their long run simulations.

There was little in the way of wayward action for the rest of the session, with Sean Gelael getting stranded at turn 13 just as the session came to a close. Sergio Sette Camara set the pace behind the top 3, just ahead of Nicholas Latifi, Matsushita, Norman Nato, Alexander Albon, Louis Deletraz and Markelov in a session which saw the top 16 drivers within a second of the top spot, promising drama for this afternoon’s qualifying session.