Red Bull’s Daniel Ricciardo has finished top of F1’s young driver test for the second year in a row with a lap 1.3 seconds quicker than Sebastian Vettel produced for pole position over the weekend.
Even with the track estimated to be 1.5 seconds quicker today than it was on Saturday it’s still a hugely impressive performance from the Aussie, and one that suggests he could have given fellow countryman Mark Webber a run for his money in qualifying. Daniel’s next career move will be very interesting, with his performance in Abu Dhabi putting big pressure on Jaime Alguersuari and Sebastien Buemi to perform next season.
The Ricciardo’s only real challenge came from Mercedes man Sam Bird, who after focusing on development work yesterday turned some impressive laps in at Yas Marina this afternoon. Bird managed to topple Ricciardo in the afternoon but the Red Bull soon regained top spot. Renault’s Jerome d’Ambrosio then leapfrogged Bird to end the day second, an impressive display from the Belgian.
Veteran tester Gary Paffett was fourth, narrowly beating the Ferrari of Jules Bianchi. Sergio Perez had a good run in what was his first experience of a Formula One car, lapping just over half a second off Bianchi in a Sauber to finish sixth. Paul di Resta, Pastor Maldonado, Jean-Eric Vergne and Yelmer Buurman completed the top ten.
Italian Davide Valsecchi – who was making his first appearance in an F1 car – produced the best lap of the new teams’ drivers in a Hispania. A good effort from the Italian. Next up were Luiz Razia (Virgin) Josef Kral (Hispania) and the two Lotus cars of Rodolfo Gonzalez and Vladimir Arabadzhiev. The Bulgarian ended the day 7.6 seconds off Ricciardo and nearly 1.5s shy of Gonzalaez, not that anyone expected much different.
Day Two Times
1. Daniel Ricciardo (Red Bull) 1m38.102s
2. Jerome D’Ambrosio (Renault) 1m38.802s
3. Sam Bird (Mercedes) 1m39.220s
4. Gary Paffett (McLaren) 1m39.760s
5. Jules Bianchi (Ferrari) 1m39.916s
6. Sergio Perez (Sauber) 1m40.543s
7. Paul di Resta (Force India) 1m40.901s
8. Pastor Maldonado (Williams) 1m40.944s
9. Jean-Eric Vergne (Toro Rosso) 1m40.974s
10. Yelmer Buurman (Force India) 1m41.178s
11. Davide Valsecchi (Hispania) 1m43.013s
12. Luiz Razia (Virgin) 1m43.525s
13. Josef Kral (Hispania) 1m44.143s
14. Rodolfo Gonzalez (Lotus) 1m44.312s
15. Vladimir Arabadzhiev (Lotus) 1m45.723s