Jean-Eric Vergne fastest as Abu Dhabi young driver test ends
|By Edd Straw||Thursday, November 17th 2011, 13:04 GMT|
Jean-Eric Vergne completed a lockout of the top of the timesheets throughout all three days of the Abu Dhabi young driver test by setting fastest time for Red Bull today.
The Frenchman's fastest time from morning running, just over four tenths off Sebastian Vettel's Abu Dhabi Grand Prix pole position time, was enough to earn him top spot, with Mercedes driver Sam Bird ending up second fastest, almost two seconds behind.
Bird spent much of the day evaluating 2012 exhausts for Mercedes, but was able to set some quicker laps in the afternoon to climb up the timing screen. Like many of the teams, Mercedes focused on development work rather than gunning for fastest laps, with Bird completing 102 laps.
Ferrari tester Jules Bianchi was fourth fastest ahead of Oliver Turvey, who was back on duty for McLaren. Max Chilton, returning for Force India, ended up fifth fastest after improving his time late on.
Chilton's best lap came just after a red flag, caused by Esteban Gutierrez. The Mexican spun his Sauber and suffered damage to a wheel rim. Chilton improved his time both before and after the stoppage, meaning that his best run of the day was interrupted.
Mirko Bortolotti, who has taken over driving the Williams from Valtteri Bottas, was seventh fastest, four tenths faster than STR returnee Kevin Ceccon.
Team Lotus driver Alexander Rossi was ninth fastest, 5.366s off the pace. The American struggled a little with space in the cockpit because of his height, which made it difficult to complete long runs, but he managed 74 laps during the day.
Renault's Jan Charouz was 10th fastest ahead of Stefano Coletti, the latter only driving in the morning before relinquishing his STR seat.
Nathanael Berthon did 51 laps on his first first day as an F1 tester after completing nine laps yesterday. He outpaced Virgin pairing Robert Wickens and Charles Pic.
Teams were running a mixture of 2011 and 2012 Pirelli tyres, as well as conducting running with a range of differing fuel loads and car specifications, making a fair comparison of the fastest times difficult.
Pos Driver Team Time 1. Jean-Eric Vergne Red Bull-Renault 1m38.917s 2. Sam Bird Mercedes GP 1m40.897s 3. Jules Bianchi Ferrari 1m41.347s 4. Olivier Turvey McLaren-Mercedes 1m41.513s 5. Max Chilton Force India-Mercedes 1m41.575s 6. Esteban Gutierrez Sauber-Ferrari 1m42.049s 7. Mirko Bortolotti Williams-Cosworth 1m43.277s 8. Kevin Ceccon Toro Rosso-Ferrari 1m43.686s 9. Alexander Rossi Lotus-Renault 1m44.283s 10. Jan Charouz Renault 1m44.470s 11. Stefano Coletti Toro Rosso-Ferrari 1m44.545s 12. Nathanael Berthon HRT-Cosworth 1m45.839s 13. Robert Wickens Virgin-Cosworth 1m45.934s 14. Charles Pic Virgin-Cosworth 1m46.348s All Timing Unofficial