September 18 2014 Latest news:
Thursday, April 3, 2014
Alex Lynn laid down a marker to his rivals as he topped the timesheets on his GP3 debut in Portugal.
The 20-year-old Dunmow driver, on his maiden run in the colours of the Red Bull Junior team, lapped second fastest in Thursday morning’s test session, fifth in the afternoon, and then headed both periods on Friday. It was his first experience of the Estoril circuit.
Lynn’s final effort was the best time overall from the 24-car field over two days of testing, more than two tenths of a second clear of the second-fastest driver, his Carlin team-mate Emil Bernstorff.
“It was my first time in a GP3 car, and I got a really good feeling with it pretty much straight away,” said Lynn. “I didn’t take long to get up to speed, so even after my first run we were able to start working on improving the car.
“On the first day we felt there were still some things to work on because we weren’t quickest. There was some rain and we didn’t really have chance to validate what we’d done.”
After more rain early on Friday, that chance finally came. “Straight out of the box it was very competitive,” Lynn added, “and from then on the car was really nice.
“We were just doing our own development programme, but because our tyres were getting very worn we decided to put some new ones on before lunch and go for a lap time. It worked and we went quickest. That really vindicated what we’d done. Carlin’s car has always been good on long runs, but the work we did on qualifying pace really paid off.”
Lynn went faster still towards the end of the afternoon session. “We did a race run, and the pace was really good,” he said. “We were managing our tyre degradation well. Even when we went quickest again at the end, we weren’t trying to be blisteringly quick, but the car felt good and it just flowed so nicely.”
The performance puts Lynn on a high heading into the next test, at Jerez in Spain on April 10-11. After this there will be one further test at Barcelona, before the opening round of the championship at the same venue on May 9-11.
“It was a massive learning experience, but it’s nice to know that I don’t need to spend any more time getting used to the car and the Pirelli tyres,” the Dunmow racer explained.
“I’m on top of it already, and over the tests at Jerez and Barcelona we can concentrate on putting ourselves into the best possible position to win from the opening round.”
The 2013 Macau Grand Prix winner will be hoping he can emulate Red Bull Junior graduate Daniil Kvyat, who won last year’s GP3 title before moving into Formula 1 this season with Toro Rosso.