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Jean-Eric Vergne still on top in Abu Dhabi test

Jean-Eric Vergne Jean-Eric Vergne continued to head the timesheets in the Abu Dhabi young driver test despite being restricted to just 17 laps after Red Bull suffered sensor problems this morning.

The Red Bull driver set a best lap of 1m40.188s to knock Ferrari driver Jules Bianchi off top spot.

Vergne's time was 0.177s slower than his fastest time of Tuesday, and the Frenchman improved on his last lap of the morning to close to 0.650s off the Red Bull driver with his best lap of the weekend.

Bianchi, who yesterday described this test as "important" for Ferrari mastering its vibrating front wing, ended the morning second fastest, 1.093s off Vergne, although he was concentrating on aerodynamic and tyre work rather than gunning for laptimes.

Williams driver Valtteri Bottas, who is completing a second day of running before dashing to Macau to compete in the Formula 3 Grand Prix, set the third fastest time as he continues to make a positive impression on the Williams test. If he continues his good performance, he will put himself into stronger contention for a possible race seat in 2012.

McLaren driver Gary Paffett ended the first half day of running in fourth place, but he caused a red flag shortly before midday when his car ground to a halt with a loss of oil. It's not clear when he will be able to return to the track.

Among the drivers making their first appearances of the test were Sauber's Esteban Gutierrez, who was fifth fastest and Team Lotus one-time Friday driver Luiz Razia. Joining them were F1 test debutants Kevin Korjus (Renault), Kevin Ceccon (STR) and Johnny Cecotto Jr (Force India).

Jan Charouz spent the morning driving for HRT in preparation for his full day for Renault tomorrow. He ended the day 11th fastest ahead of Charles Pic, who was only able to complete 21 laps for Virgin after the team spent part of the morning changing an engine-related component that required the floor to be removed.

Morning times:

Pos  Driver               Team                  Time      Laps
 1.  Jean-Eric Vergne     Red Bull-Renault      1m40.188s   17
 2.  Jules Bianchi        Ferrari               1m40.838s   45
 3.  Valtteri Bottas      Williams-Cosworth     1m42.548s   38
 4.  Gary Paffett         McLaren-Mercedes      1m42.645s   23
 5.  Esteban Gutierrez    Sauber-Ferrari        1m43.637s   47
 6.  Sam Bird             Mercedes GP           1m43.734s   43
 7.  Luiz Razia           Lotus-Renault         1m44.323s   44
 8.  Kevin Korjus         Renault               1m44.425s   38
 9.  Kevin Ceccon         Toro Rosso-Ferrari    1m44.947s   41
10.  Johnny Cecotto Jr    Force India-Mercedes  1m45.475s   39
11.  Jan Charouz          HRT-Cosworth          1m46.728s   37
12.  Charles Pic          Virgin-Cosworth       1m48.397s   21

All Timing Unofficial
Daytona Competition
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