has got his weekend off to a great start by setting the pace in this morning's free practice session in Valencia, claiming the top spot in the closing minutes to squeeze past Davide Valsecchi
, Giedo van der Garde
and teammate Jolyon Palmer
at the top of the timesheets.
The Swede's best lap of 1: 48.088 was set with just over a minute remaining in the session to take P1 by less that two tenths in a red flag affected session, with the overcast conditions bringing yesterday's extreme temperatures down but with high winds causing additional problems for the field.
, Max Chilton
and Davide Valsecchi set the early pace, with the Italian on top as the session approached the halfway mark, when Rodolfo Gonzalez
lost his rear at the chicane at the end of the main straight and went backwards into the wall, causing the red flags to be brought out to allow the marshals to remove the stricken vehicle.
The session restarted with nine minutes remaining, handing all of the teams a big job to get through their programmes in a shortened period, and causing more traffic than usual as everyone rushed to get through their workloads.
But Ericsson took full advantage of a hole in the traffic to set the pace against improving times throughout the field. Behind the top four Johnny Cecotto
, Chilton, Fabio Leimer
, James Calado
, Felipe Nasr
and Coletti were all within a second of the top time, and will be looking for more in a hopefully unabridged qualifying session this afternoon.