Formula 2 Champion Andy Soucek (above) and the Williams team went fastest on Tuesday at Jerez at the first young driver test session at Jerez. With only those drivers with less than three Grand Prix experiences taking part, the local favourite topped the timesheets as a total of eight drivers drove an F1 car for the first time.
With the 3-day session marking the first Formula 1 action since the season-ending Abu Dhabi Grand Prix exactly a month ago, the field enjoyed bright conditions and a dry track surface for the entire 8-hour period.
Having won his Williams ride as a prize for claiming the F2 crown, Soucek lapped the circuit with a best effort of 1:19.158, much to the delight of Jonathan Palmer, whose company runs the F2 series. A spin in the afternoon looked to have threatened the remainder of Soucek’s day although, following a red flag, his best time was actually posted in the final hour.
Tuesday’s first stoppage came in the morning, though, as Brendon Hartley’s Toro Rosso lost control after exiting the chicane, displacing both the right-front wheel and nose cone; following directly behind, British Formula 3 Champion Daniel Ricciardo was forced to take evasive action, spinning the Red Bull into the gravel trap.
The Force India of Scot Paul di Resta achieved the second best time, two tenths down on Soucek, as McLaren reserve driver Gary Paffett – whose appearance had not been announced prior to the test – completed the top three. With Ricciardo fourth and F3 Euroseries Champion Jules Bianchi in the top five for Ferrari, the Brawn of Briton Mike Conway finished the day sixth.
McLaren, Brawn and Force India were the three running two drivers, with the first inviting Englishman Oliver Turvey to alternate with Paffett, the second welcoming Sweden’s Marcus Ericsson alongside Conway and the third bringing American J.R. Hildebrand into the same garage as di Resta.
The final testing times were:
|1.||Andy Soucek||Williams Toyota`||1:19.158||(87 laps)|
|2.||Paul di Resta||Force India Mercedes||1:19.369||(46)|
|3.||Gary Paffet||McLaren Mercedes||1:19.426||(54)|
|4.||Daniel Ricciardo||Red Bull Renault||1:19.534||(113)|
|6.||Mike Conway||Brawn GP Mercedes||1:19.920||(58)|
|7.||Alexander Rossi||BMW Sauber||1:19.920||(82)|
|8.||Marcus Ericsson||Brawn GP Mercedes||1:20.227||(82)|
|10.||J.R. Hildebrand||Force India Mercedes||1:20.537||(49)|
|11.||Oliver Turvey||McLaren Mercedes||1:20.856||(27)|
|12.||Brendon Hartley||Toro Rosso Ferrari||1:21.325||(69)|
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