Soucek tops Jerez test for Williams

Andy Soucek set the pace on the first day of Formula 1 young driver testing at Jerez, despite an afternoon spin that brought out the red flags

Soucek tops Jerez test for Williams

The 24-year-old Spaniard, who was testing for Williams as his prize for winning this year's Formula 2 championship, shot to the top of the timesheets during the first hour of running, and was never outside the top four thereafter.

His pace-setting lap of 1m19.158s came with an hour of running to go, and was after a spin and stall at the Michelin hairpin brought out the red flags.

Britain's Paul di Resta was an impressive second quickest, despite Force India having only run him in the afternoon, after JR Hildebrand drove the car during the morning.

The DTM front-runner's best lap, which came in the final 10 minutes of the session, was 0.211s slower than Soucek's and demoted Gary Paffett's McLaren to third.

The morning running was interrupted by an early red flag. Brendon Hartley spun his Toro Rosso between the chicane and Ferrari curve and clouted the barrier, knocking off the right-front wheel and nose of his car.

Daniel Ricciardo, who was following closely, spun in avoidance and ended up getting his Red Bull beached in the gravel.

Ricciardo recovered to set the fourth fastest time, ahead of Ferrari's Jules Bianchi and Brawn's Mike Conway.

The BMW Sauber team tested Alexander Rossi as a prize for winning the Formula BMW World Finals in 2008. Rossi was seventh quickest.

"I very much enjoyed this day," said Rossi. "It is impressive what the car does, how predictable and precise its reactions are, and how high the overall grip level is. But I have to admit I am also a little bit disappointed because being a racing driver you always want to be the fastest!

"I think in the afternoon we didn't manage to find the perfect balance. Physically I have to say it was as demanding as I expected it would be. The power steering is a great help compared to GP2, but the g forces obviously are higher."

Briton Oliver Turvey, who was testing as his prize for winning the 2006 McLaren AUTOSPORT BRDC Award, was given 90 minutes of running at the end of the day by McLaren.

He completed only 27 laps - less than anyone else - but improved his times more than anybody else in the final half hour. His best lap was 1.698s off the pace.

Today's times:

Pos Driver Team Time Laps 1. Soucek Williams 1m19.158s 87 2. Di Resta Force India 1m19.369s + 0.221s 46 3. Paffett McLaren 1m19.426s + 0.268s 54 4. Ricciardo Red Bull 1m19.534s + 0.376s 112 5. Bianchi Ferrari 1m19.626s + 0.486s 90 6. Conway Brawn 1m19.920s + 0.762s 58 7. Rossi Sauber 1m20.227s + 1.069s 82 8. Ericsson Brawn 1m20.333s + 1.175s 49 9. Baguette Renault 1m20.511s + 1.363s 105 10. Hildebrand Force India 1m20.537s + 1.379s 49 11. Turvey McLaren 1m20.856s + 1.698s 27 11. Hartley Toro Rosso 1m21.325s + 2.167s 69 All Timing Unofficial 
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