Williams reserve driver Valtteri Bottas has comfortably topped the timesheets on the first day of the two-day ‘Young Driver’ test session at Silverstone. The Finn’s fastest lap – a 1:31.436 – was some three seconds quicker than the fastest lap of the race at last weekend’s British Grand Prix.
Of course, not much should be read into the lap times, with the three attending teams – Williams, Marussia and HRTF1 – free to run whatever fuel loads and car weights they want during the test, which was conducted in mostly clear conditions at the Northamptonshire circuit. Late rain fell on the circuit during the final hours of the session.
The fine weather allowed for all three outfits to complete plenty of on-track mileage. Bottas concentrated on short runs in the morning before conducting a race simulation in the afternoon.
Bottas obviously had the benefit of much more competitive equipment at his disposal, with his fastest lap time over five seconds quicker than the second-fastest effort, which came from Carlin GP2 driver Max Chilton in the Marussia F1 entry.
The Indonesian driver’s best time was some eight-tenths slower than Chilton’s, but his running was also delayed when Chilton’s session was stopped by a mechanical issue, which needed to be resolved in the interim.
The Shanghai-born driver performed a mix of shorter and longer stints in the F112, clocking up an impressive tally of 82 laps and finishing up just four-tenths slower than Haryanto, a driver with far more experience in open-wheeler racing.
The Spanish team announced at the conclusion of the test that it would wrap up proceedings a day early to prepare for next weekend’s German Grand Prix.
With tomorrow being the second and final day of the test, that leaves Williams and Marussia as the sole runners in this shortened ‘Young Driver’ test. The field’s remaining nine teams will head to Abu Dhabi later in the year to conduct a four-day test session.
2012 Silverstone ‘Young Driver’ Test – Day 1 Test Times:
|1.||Valtteri Bottas||Williams Renault FW34||1:31.436||120|
|2.||Max Chilton||Marussia Racing Cosworth MR01||1:36.558||+ 5.122||34|
|3.||Rio Haryanto||Marussia Racing Cosworth MR01||1:37.404||+ 5.968||19|
|4.||Ma Qing Hua||HRTF1 Cosworth F112||1:37.829||+ 6.393||82|