Kiwi duo Marcus Armstrong and Liam Lawson have ended a steady opening day of the official FIA Formula 2 post-season test.
Lawson was 11th quickest in the 22-car field on his debut outing with the car. The Hitech driver was two places up on his teammate Juri Vips, with the two one of the last pairings to amble out of the pitlane for their first flying laps.
Having completed his maiden F2 season with ART GP, Armstrong swapped teams for the three-day test and got behind the wheel of French outfit DAMS.
It is widely expected that Armstrong will be making the swap permanent for next season after suffering a frustrating season with ART.
He ended the day 14th on the timing boards, just over a tenth behind Lawson and 1.1-seconds off the leading pace set by Jehan Daruvala.
A former New Zealand Grand Prix winner, Daruvala was fresh of scoring his debut F2 win in the final race of the season at the Bahrain circuit.
He fronted a Carlin 1-2 with Dan Ticktum in the sister machine just over one-tenth adrift.
The two were sat in the middle of the pack for most of the day’s running before setting their fastest lap times early into the final hour.
The day itself was shortened by a little over four hours. A lack of track marshals saw the scheduled start time of 9.00 am local time pushed back until 1.30 pm, giving drivers just one five-hour session to opening the week’s proceedings.
Formula 3 champion Oscar Piastri was the early pace-setter with his new Prema team, joining the squad as its replacement for Formula 1-bound driver Mick Schumacher.
But he was usurped by Louis Deletraz for MP Motorsport shortly after setting his best time, with the Italian looking set to finish on the top spot before Darauvala posted his best effort.
The second Prema of Robert Shwartzman slotted into fourth, with F2 runner-up Callum Ilott two spots back in sixth.
Ilott, who missed out on an F1 race seat with Haas, was only slated to do one day of running. He will now depart to Abu Dhabi to take part in next week’s F1 young driver test for Alfa Romeo. David Beckmann and Guilherme Samaia will fill his place in the Charou Racing Systems car.
F2 will continue its post-season test in Bahrain over Wednesday and Thursday.