Davidson Off to a Fine Start in Hungary

British Formula One stand-in Anthony Davidson took 13 seconds to make his mark in an impressive Grand Prix debut with Minardi on Friday.

Davidson Off to a Fine Start in Hungary

British Formula One stand-in Anthony Davidson took 13 seconds to make his mark in an impressive Grand Prix debut with Minardi on Friday.

The 23-year-old Briton claimed a first with a $1,000 fine for breaking the pitlane speed limit as soon as he left the team garage at the start of first practice ahead of Sunday's Hungarian Grand Prix.

He then made even more of an impression by lapping, in a car he had never driven before and on an unfamiliar track, 0.036 of a second faster than his highly-rated Australian teammate Mark Webber.

"I think that's a new record," Davidson said of a speeding violation recorded just 13 seconds after the green light signalled the start of the first session. "I don't know who pays the fine. Not me, that's for sure, because I haven't got that much money.

"Because it's so close to the end of the pitlane, I came out and it didn't even feel like I was going quick at all, so I didn't put it (the limiter) on," said the British American Racing (BAR) test driver.

The speed trap showed the Briton, standing in for the next two races for underperforming Malaysian Alex Yoong, had been 3.6 km/h over the 60 km/h limit.

"I said I've got to learn. In testing you don't normally do that. When you are close to the exit you just go out there and you don't worry about putting the limiter on for a split second, and that's what happened," he said.

Davidson was also driving on an uncomfortable seat, fitted only this week, and mechanics' overalls.

"Given the fact he had not been in the car before this morning, he's done an excellent job and we will forgive him for his $1,000 fine for the fastest speeding record in the history of a driver," said team boss Paul Stoddart.

Nice and Easy

Davidson said he had been "nice and controlled" and had not had to push too hard.

"I've just got to learn the circuit and learn the car... Tomorrow I've got to push a bit more and start to find a bit more time and feel a bit more confident before qualifying.

"Tomorrow is the moment of truth. When qualifying starts all the chatter in the pitlane stops and you find out who is really quick or not," he said. "I just want to qualify, that's my goal. But I'm a lot less nervous than I was this morning.

"Step by step you get a bit more confident and I'm feeling slightly better in the car, but there's a lot of work still to do on the seat.

"I hurt my lower back today with the seat not being right. I'll go and get that sorted out now and hopefully they will make the seat better tonight."

Davidson said the telemetry readouts showed he was quicker in some places than Webber but he still had a lot to learn about the car.

"Compared to how I feel in the BAR, the difference is like night and day," he said. "The power doesn't feel much different and I was surprised by that. The two cars are quite similar, but it's just the way I'm sitting in the car.

"It's like when you jump in your hire car and then you go back to your own car and you're sure someone has moved the seat, but they haven't."

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