Jean-Éric Vergne has again led the way on the second day of running at the ‘Young Drivers’ test session at Yas Marina, although the Frenchman just failed to better the fastest lap time he posted on the opening day’s action.
In part, this could be attributed to his Red Bull RB7 suffering a combination of sensor problems in the morning and a KERS issue in the afternoon, but his fastest time of 1:40.188 was still just 0.1 seconds off his best effort from the day before.
With the more established drivers getting themselves up to speed, the top three teams of the 2011 season rounded out the top three spots on the timesheets, with Ferrari’s Jules Bianchi matching his second-fastest effort from yesterday. This time the Frenchman managed to close the gap to his compatriot Vergne, with his best effort less than one-tenth slower.
Much of Bianchi’s day was spent running through a host of technical programmes for the Italian team, which included running various engine mapping settings, trialling new parts, and also giving the team crucial mileage on the tyre compounds Pirelli has developed to use in the 2012 season.
Despite causing a red flag when his McLaren deposited its oil on the track in the morning, reserve driver Gary Paffett finished the day third-fastest, just under half a second off Bianchi’s fastest lap.
Fourth-quickest – and rather giddy heights too, given the team’s wretched year – was GP3 champion Valtteri Bottas in the Williams, who clocked a fastest lap some six-tenths slower than Paffett. The Finn lost some track time in the middle of the day with an electrical issue (identified later as a wiring problem). He now jets to Macau for this weekend’s Formula 3 Grand Prix, and his seat in the FW33 will be taken over by Italian driver Mirko Bortolotti.
A surprising fifth-fastest – and quickest of the four drivers having their first F1 outing – was perennial GP2 driver, Johnny Cecotto Jr. The son (and namesake) of former motorcycling ace and ex-F1 driver Johnny Cecotto, the young Venezuelan acquitted himself well, racking up 84 laps of the Yas Marina circuit.
Sauber reserve driver Esteban Gutiérrez had his first outing for the team since last year’s ‘Young Drivers’ test, and the Mexican youngster finished the day sixth-fastest in the first of his two days driving for the Swiss team.
Seventh-fastest was Mercedes GP reserve driver Sam Bird. While a cursory glance at the timesheets will show that the Briton was well off the pace, the Brackley squad is using the test to carry out three days of intensive development work rather than chasing outright lap times.
Estonian driver Kevin Korjus was Renault’s sole driver today, posting the eighth-fastest time, just four-hundredths slower than Bird. Just two-tenths off his pace was Team Lotus test driver Luiz Razia who ran 89 laps in the T128. He will hand over the car to American driver Alexander Rossi for the final day’s testing.
Italian driver Kevin Ceccon was another driver having his first F1 outing. He finished the day tenth-quickest as Toro Rosso continued its last-minute push to claim seventh in the Constructors’ Championship from Sauber. He clocked up a whopping 97 laps in the STR6.
Czech driver and Renault reserve driver Jan Charouz was behind the wheel of an HRT, racking up enough mileage in his half-day’s running to earn his FIA Superlicense. He shared the cockpit of the F111 with Frenchman Nathanaël Berthon, who only had a handful of laps in the car in the late afternoon.
The pair sandwiched Charles Pic in the Virgin Racing entry. His day’s running wasn’t helped when the team needed to replace an engine-related component that required the car’s entire floor to be removed. It was been confirmed that he’ll be given further running on the final day, all but cementing speculation that he will join the team next year.
2011 Abu Dhabi ‘Young Drivers’ Test – Day 2 Times:
|1.||Jean-Éric Vergne||Red Bull Renault RB7||1:40.188||43|
|2.||Jules Bianchi||Ferrari F150° Italia||1:40.279||91|
|3.||Gary Paffett||McLaren Mercedes MP4-26||1:41.756||71|
|4.||Valtteri Bottas||Williams Cosworth FW33||1:42.367||88|
|5.||Johnny Cecotto Jr||Force India Mercedes VJM04||1:42.873||84|
|6.||Esteban Gutiérrez||Sauber Ferrari C30||1:43.637||96|
|7.||Sam Bird||Mercedes GP W02||1:43.734||94|
|8.||Kevin Korjus||Renault R31||1:43.776||70|
|9.||Luiz Razia||Lotus Renault T128||1:43.944||89|
|10.||Kevin Ceccon||Toro Rosso Ferrari STR6||1:44.808||97|
|11.||Jan Charouz||HRT F1 Cosworth F111||1:46.644||56|
|12.||Charles Pic||Virgin Racing Cosworth MVR-02||1:46.698||61|
|13.||Nathanaël Berthon||HRT F1 Cosworth F111||1:48.646||9|
[Images via Sutton Images]