Nikola Tsolov was fastest in both Spanish Formula 4 practice sessions at Algarve, but the big talking point was track limits violations.
There were 18 laps deleted in the first of two sessions, and 24 drivers were shown the black-and-white flag for ignoring track limits. After that, eight offenders – Noah Lisle, Filip Jenic, Jesse Carrasquedo Jr, Ricardo Gracia, Jorge Campos, Georg Kelstrup, Max Arkhangelskiy and Valerio Rinicella – copped three-minute pitlane time penalties for repeated offences.
Global Racing’s Lucas Malek was the pacesetter as the first few laps were set, with Jef Machiels – driving for the alliance between Van Amersfoort Racing and Monlau Motorsport – then taking over as he went two seconds faster.
His team-mate Robert De Haan was a second up on that, then Campos Racing’s Tsolov took to the top with half an hour remaining.
MP Motorsport’s Tymoteusz Kucharczyk was next to the top, for eight seconds, before Tsolov improved to a 1m46.348s.
His team-mate Hugh Barter eventually usurped him by 0.119 seconds, but Tsolov immediately responded to regain first place and later improved into the 1m45s.
Entering the final seven minutes he had set several sub-1m46s laps while nobody else had breached that mark, but on the final runs many drivers improved.
Tsolov himself set a 1m45.755s to secure top spot, and MP’s Suleiman Zanfari set a 1m45.921s to go second fastest. Barter was third, and next in the order were MP’s Christian Ho and Valerio Rinicella.
The top 16 were within a second, and Bruno del Pino and Kirill Smal set no laps.
Tsolov was quicker to rise up to first in FP2, then Barter, Gael Julien, Arkhangelskiy, Lisle and Kucharczyk all spent time at the top and brought the pace down to 1m46.406s before the final 10 minutes of running.
Barter returned to first place with just under nine minutes to go, and a minute later Jenic set the session’s first sub-1m46s lap. It wasn’t until the final four minutes that Tsolov went top again, but Jenic knocked him down to second after 30 seconds and Tsolov had to improve to end practice on top by 0.044s.
During the session Alvaro Garcia, Lisle, Lola Lovinfosse, Carrasquedo, Miron Pingasov and Gracia (twice) got stop-gos, and Gracia, Campos, Vladislav Ryabov, Max Mayer, Malek, Kelstrup, Tsolov and Tasanapol Inthraphuvasak then got black flagged.
This time Smal set seven laps but stopped on track, while Teo Martin Motorsport’s Daniel Nogales failed to head out. There were 10 drivers who failed to improve on their FP1 pace, one of those being Zanfari who was fourth fastest overall during the day.
Free practice results
|1||Nikola Tsolov||Campos Racing||1m45.599s||35|
|2||Filip Jenic||Campos Racing||1m45.643s||+0.044s||32|
|3||Hugh Barter||Campos Racing||1m45.766s||+0.167s||34|
|4||Suleiman Zanfari||MP Motorsport||1m45.921s||+0.322s||37|
|5||Georg Kelstrup||Campos Racing||1m46.009s||+0.410s||31|
|6||Tymoteusz Kucharczyk||MP Motorsport||1m46.019s||+0.420s||36|
|7||Gael Julien||Drivex School||1m46.052s||+0.453s||34|
|8||Christian Ho||MP Motorsport||1m46.157s||+0.558s||40|
|9||Tasanapol Inthraphuvasak||MP Motorsport||1m46.174s||+0.575s||40|
|10||Valerio Rinicella||MP Motorsport||1m46.247s||+0.648s||35|
|11||Max Arkhangelskiy||Drivex School||1m46.248s||+0.649s||31|
|12||Ricardo Escotto||Cram Motorsport||1m46.258s||+0.659s||34|
|13||Robert De Haan||VAR/Monlau Motorsport||1m46.369s||+0.770s||34|
|14||Jesse Carrasquedo Jr||Campos Racing||1m46.392s||+0.793s||30|
|15||Noah Lisle||Drivex School||1m46.442s||+0.843s||25|
|16||Sebastian Gravlund||MP Motorsport||1m46.469s||+0.870s||40|
|17||Miron Pingasov||MP Motorsport||1m46.516s||+0.917s||35|
|18||Jef Machiels||VAR/Monlau Motorsport||1m46.584s||+0.985s||28|
|19||Alvaro Garcia||Formula de Campeones||1m46.603s||+1.004s||33|
|20||Max Mayer||Formula de Campeones||1m46.607s||+1.008s||35|
|22||Anshul Gandhi||Cram Motorsport||1m46.823s||+1.224s||32|
|23||Bruno del Pino||Drivex School||1m46.836s||+1.237s||16|
|25||Manuel Espirito Santo||Teo Martin Motorsport||1m47.040s||+1.441s||34|
|26||Daniel Nogales||Teo Martin Motorsport||1m47.185s||+1.586s||16|
|28||Jorge Campos||Formula de Campeones||1m47.443s||+1.844s||34|
|29||Lola Lovinfosse||Teo Martin Motorsport||1m47.443s||+1.844s||27|
|30||Kirill Smal||MP Motorsport||1m47.544s||+1.945s||7|