Q & A: Bird on Mercedes outing

Fresh from a very promising GP2 rookie season with ART, British driver Sam Bird got his first proper Formula 1 run with Mercedes during this week's young driver tests in Abu Dhabi

AUTOSPORT heard from Bird after he completed day two.

Q. Are you happy with your performance over the two days?

Sam Bird: Yes, very much so. Over the last two days myself and the team have been working on lots of things and we are both very happy with what we've got out of the two days.

I'd like to thank Mercedes for the opportunity to drive their car, it has been a really amazing experience and I hope that we can work together in the future. The work that we did was good and we think that we've learned from it.

Q. The experience of driving a grand prix car for a big works team like Mercedes must be pretty special?

SB: It's my first proper outing around a track in a grand prix car and it has been unforgettable. The last two days have been a really good experience and everyone at Mercedes has really made me feel at home. It's a great bunch of people here that I'm working with so I really enjoyed it.

Q. What was the feeling like when you first went out?

SB: To do your first proper test is a great moment and to pull out of the garage in a Mercedes was a great honour and a privilege.

Q. You did almost 150 laps over the two days, so did you have any problems physically?

SB: Physically it was absolutely fine, no problems whatsoever actually. I'm quite happy with everything.

Q. And was the pace that you showed good taking into account the programme that you were running?

SB: I believe so.

Q. Was it easy to adapt to the car when you first went out?

SB: It's a Formula 1 car so it's a very refined piece of machinery and it took a little bit of getting used to, but I think that I was able to get to a reasonable level quite quickly and then it was a case of fine-tuning. But again the guys at Mercedes were great at pointing out where I needed to improve.

Q. This afternoon you did your best lap and topped the times for a while - was that your chance to really attack and go for a lap?

SB: Not at all. We were working on our programme and we were sticking to it. It was not about going gung-ho and setting the world alight, we had a target and I think that we achieved what we wanted to.

Q. This has been a good year for you with your GP2 success. How positive is it to end the season with this test?

SB: It has been an amazing year. I got my dream drive in GP2 with ART and I believe that I did okay. I think I could have had a lot more wins had I not had some mechanical failures and things going wrong - I should have won the first round at Barcelona for example.

But I did win a race, I got a lot of fastest laps, I got a pole position so it was very good. And in the last round in Abu Dhabi I came from 18th to third, so I think that it has been a successful year. We are still pushing for next year's GP2 budget, which is coming along, but we'll have to wait and see what happens. Hopefully it will be good.

Previous article Bird says goals achieved in test
Next article Perez: Rookie test extremely useful