Oliver Bearman returned from the summer break and hit the ground running at Zandvoort, topping Free Practice for PREMA Racing with a 1:22.715. The Briton ended up 0.396s clear of MP Motorsport’s Dennis Hauger in second, and his teammate Frederik Vesti in third, just 0.073s further back.

Looking to get some dry laps under his belt after a wet Spa-Francorchamps debut, PHM Racing by Charouz’s Joshua Mason got some laps in early. He set the pace to beat initially after several flying laps, clocking a 1:27.025 before the rest of the field ventured out with 15 minutes gone.

Bearman then lowered the best lap to a 1:24.528 to go fastest ahead of the ART Grand Prix duo of Victor Martins and Théo Pourchaire.

The track continued to rubber in quickly, with Jak Crawford going half a second clear in P1 on his next lap. His Hitech Pulse-Eight teammate Isack Hadjar displaced him before Bearman, Ayumu Iwasa and then Martins took over in front.

Looking to find more time, the Frenchman had a wide moment after catching the grass on corner exit at Turn 9. Minutes later, Crawford repeated the same error, but both were able to continue on their way.

Vesti was next to set the quickest time, going one tenth clear with 20 minutes to go until Hauger put home team MP Motorsport on top with a 1:23.111. With track temperatures rising approaching midday, further improvements were scarce as the medium compound Pirelli tyres gave up the best of their grip.

Martins had another minor off after running deep at Turn 11 but carried on without issue. Teammate Pourchaire had his own exploration off the circuit, using the escape road on the outside of Turn 1 after a sizeable front lock-up himself.

Bearman slotted back up to the top with under three minutes to go, setting a 1:22.715 while Vesti posted a late improvement too, lifting himself above Iwasa and into third.

With less than 30 seconds to go, the Red Flag was thrown after Ralph Boschung spun off into the barrier at Turn 7. He was out of the car and ok, but the Campos Racing driver’s crash brought the session to an early end.

Iwasa was fourth for DAMS ahead of Martins, Jehan Daruvala, Zane Maloney, Jack Doohan, Hadjar and Pourchaire, who rounded out the top 10.

Qualifying at Zandvoort is set to get underway at 14:05 local time.