Red Bull Racing’s domination in Abu Dhabi has continued unabated, with Daniel Ricciardo topping the first day of F1’s young driver test at the Yas Marina circuit (see below for times).
And not just topping – Ricciardo ended the day over a second quicker than his nearest rival, McLaren’s Oliver Turvey. Having finished last year’s young driver test as the fastest man Ricciardo now looks odds-on to make it two in a row.
Turvey was also driving for the same team he did last year and was once again impressive. 2011 will be a big year for the Cumbrian driver.
Antonio Felix da Costa raised eyebrows by recording the third quickest time of the day at the wheel of a Force India. The Portuguese driver was getting his first taste of F1 machinery for the Silverstone-based squad and acquitted himself well. He was quicker than regular tester Paul di Resta, though the Scot only set a time to get Antonio a baseline to work from.
A quartet of champions were next on the time sheets, with GP3 conqueror Esteban Guttierez (Sauber) narrowly edging Formula 2 title-winner Dean Stoneman (Williams) for fourth, Formula Renault 3.5 victor Mikhail Aleshin (Renault) sixth and runaway British F3 champ Jean-Eric Vergne (Toro Rosso) seventh. All did solid jobs, particularly F1 first-timers Stoneman and Vergne.
Mercedes’ Sam Bird and the Ferrari of Jules Bianchi were adrift of their team’s regular performances in 9th and 12th respectively, but the GP2 front-runners were focussing on set-up and development work rather than quick laps. That’ll come tomorrow, when both can be expected to be towards the top of the time sheets.
Pastor Maldonado did a solid job for Hispania, ending the day just two-tenths shy of Virgin’s Jerome d’Ambrosio. Considering that this was Pastor’s first run in F1 machinery for six years whilst Jerome has done several Friday sessions for Virgin and the pace difference between the two cars we reckon the Venezuelan was impressive.
Slowest was GP3 race-winner Rio Haryanto, the Indonesian finishing a shade under ten seconds adrift of Ricciardo’s benchmark. The 17-year-old was yet to drive anything more powerful than a GP3 car before today.
Day One Times
1. Daniel Ricciardo (Red Bull-Renault) 1m 39.616s
2. Oliver Turvey (McLaren-Mercedes) 1m 40.726s
3. Antonio Felix da Costa (Force India-Mercedes) 1m 41.381s
4. Esteban Gutierrez (BMW Sauber-Ferrari) 1m 41.432s
5. Dean Stoneman (Williams-Cosworth) 1m 41.522s
6. Mikhael Aleshin (Renault) 1m 42.073s
7. Jean-Eric Vergne (Toro Rosso-Ferrari) 1m 42.489s
8. Paul di Resta (Force India-Mercedes) 1m 42.736s
9. Sam Bird (Mercedes) 1m 42.985s
10. Jerome D’Ambrosio (Virgin-Cosworth) 1m 43.518s
11. Pastor Maldonado (Hispania-Cosworth) 1m 43.750s
12. Jules Bianchi (Ferrari) 1m 43.894s
13. Rodolfo Gonzalez (Lotus-Cosworth 1m 44.924s
14. Rio Haryanto (Virgin-Cosworth) 1m 49.439s