So the three days of ‘Young Driver’ and Pirelli test running has come to a close at Silverstone, with Sebastian Vettel affording himself some bragging rights by posting the fastest overall time on the final day of running around the Northamptonshire circuit.
Although one should not read anything into the overall test times, the test gave the teams plenty of valuable mileage on Pirelli’s new tyres, as well as the opportunity to assess the potential talents – and in some cases, funding – of a host of hot-blooded youngsters.
Here’s our extensive analysis of how the three days panned out…
Day 1: Magnussen a shock quickest on the opening day
It’s been a long time since a McLaren was seen at the top of a timing monitor, but that’s exactly what happened on the opening day of the ‘Young Drivers’ test at Silverstone. With young Danish hotshot Kevin Magnussen at the wheel, the second-generation racer clocked an impressive 1:33.602 in the final hour of running en route to a tally of exactly 100 laps.
Félix da Costa and Force India test driver James Calado were the early pace-setters ahead of the morning lunch break, and the trend continued into the afternoon before Paul di Resta took over Calado’s seat and went quicker.
Finally, Magnussen popped up in top spot with a time just two-tenths of a second slower than the fastest race lap effort Mark Webber had earned in this year’s British Grand Prix.
Williams tester Daniel Juncadella finished the day fifth-fastest in the FW35, although his morning’s running was compromised with the team’s mechanics having to make a host of repairs and changes to the car.
Johnny Cecotto Jr and Robin Frijns were sixth and seventh fastest for Toro Rosso and Sauber respectively, with Nicolas Prost and Davide Rigon half a second adrift in their Lotus and Ferrari entries.
Alexander Rossi had his second major outing in Caterham’s CT03 challenger and finished just two seconds off Magnussen’s pace, while the Marussia pairing of Tio Ellinas and Max Chilton brought up the rear. The latter was affected by an ECU issue, which limited his pace and mileage in the MR02.
Day 2: Ricciardo quickest on his Red Bull audition
Red Bull Racing aspirant Daniel Ricciardo ended Day 2 of the ‘Young Drivers’ test first and third on the timesheets, with the Australian enjoying a busy day behind the wheel of two cars.
With his Toro Rosso STR8 having shown tremendous pace during the Grand Prix at Silverstone just a few weeks prior, it was no surprise to see the Perth-born driver well hooked up around the circuit, posting a day’s quickest time of 1:32.972 in the morning’s running, which proved unbeatable for the rest of the day.
While he hopped into the Red Bull RB9 for the afternoon, Carlos Sainz Jr took over the STR8 and came closest to beating his time, finishing a narrow four-hundredths of a second shy.
Ricciardo meanwhile, initially found the RB9 a little trickier to handle, causing a brief red flag with a spin and stall in his early laps, before he settled back down to business and completed the rest of his programme after his car had been returned to the pits and dusted off. The 24-year-old ultimately finished just two-tenths slower than his morning time and appearing well-pleased with his performance when he hit the press scrum at the end of the day.
Lotus’ reserve driver Davide Valsecchi piloted the E21 challenger to the fourth-fastest time overall, finishing three-tenths of a second ahead of McLaren test driver Oliver Turvey, who clocked up just short of a century of tours around the five-kilometre circuit.
Turvey’s former GP2 Series rival James Calado was next up in the Force India. The Brit shared driving duties with his compatriot Paul di Resta.
Red Bull protégé António Félix da Costa was seventh-quickest on the combined timesheets as he concluded his programme in the RB9; he finished barely a tenth faster than Ferrari test driver Davide Rigon, who evaluated yet more aero parts on the F138.
Being unable to run any new parts during their stints behind the wheel, Williams driver Pastor Maldonado and Sauber’s Nico Hülkenberg spent their respective half days in their cars getting to know Pirelli’s new tyres ahead of the Hungarian Grand Prix. The pair finished ahead of their respective ‘junior’ runners, Daniel Juncadella and Robin Frijns, with the latter having a spin late in the morning
Caterham’s new academy signing Will Stevens posted an impressive 98 laps in his very first F1 outing, finishing ahead of Force India driver Paul di Resta and Marussia reserve Rodolfo González, who wound up slowest of all.
|Pos||Driver||Team||Day 2 Result||Laps|
|1.||Daniel Ricciardo||Scuderia Toro Rosso Ferrari STR8||1:32.972||48|
|2.||Carlos Sainz Jr||Scuderia Toro Rosso Ferrari STR8||+ 0.044||39|
|3.||Daniel Ricciardo||Red Bull Racing Renault RB9||+ 0.215||59|
|4.||Davide Valsecchi||Lotus Renault E21||+ 0.582||91|
|5.||Oliver Turvey||McLaren Mercedes MP4-28||+ 0.892||97|
|6.||James Calado||Sahara Force India Mercedes VJM06||+ 0.985||47|
|7.||António Félix da Costa||Red Bull Racing Renault RB9||+ 0.986||19|
|8.||Davide Rigon||Scuderia Ferrari F138||+ 1.081||97|
|9.||Pastor Maldonado||Williams Renault FW35||+ 1.144||71|
|10.||Nico Hülkenberg||Sauber Ferrari C32||+ 1.252||52|
|11.||Daniel Juncadella||Williams Renault FW35||+ 1.659||33|
|12.||Robin Frijns||Sauber Ferrari C32||+ 1.759||17|
|13.||Will Stevens||Caterham Renault CT03||+ 3.110||98|
|14.||Paul di Resta||Sahara Force India Mercedes VJM06||+ 3.384||41|
|15.||Rodolfo González||Marussia Cosworth MR02||+ 4.977||92|
Day 3: Vettel quickest as ‘Young Drivers’ Test ends
Championship leader Sebastian Vettel closed out the three-day test session with the quickest overall time on the field’s final day of running at Silverstone.
With conditions again sunny and clear, over 7,000 spectators hit the Northamptonshire circuit to watch the F1 cars pound around the former wartime airfield. And with the track well and truly rubbered in, the times were marginally quicker than what had been seen on Day 2.
Adrian Sutil set the early pace with a best time of 1:33.421 before the one-hour lunch break, and he found a further two-tenths of a second in the afternoon before handing his Force India over to James Calado, who had a brief six-lap burst late in the day.
Lotus had elected to field Kimi Räikkönen on the final day, but instead opted not to, and so Le Mans racer Nicolas Prost was given another outing in the E21, which was fitted without the team’s new passive Drag Reduction Device. The Frenchman finished a solid third-fastest.
After showing an impressive turn of pace the day before in the Toro Rosso, Carlos Sainz Jr. – son of rally legend Carlos Sr. – was given another half-day in Red Bull colours, this time getting to pilot the Red Bull Racing RB9 before he handed over to Sebastian Vettel in the afternoon. The 18-year-old Spaniard was again pretty handy, although ultimately lapped about four-tenths shy of his fastest time in the Toro Rosso that he managed the day prior.
Ferrari split its running between test driver Davide Rigon and regular racer Felipe Massa, and the two were barely separated on the timesheets, covering almost 140 laps between them in the F138.
After being snubbed for his chance to audition for the Red Bull Racing vacancy during this test, Jean-Éric Vergne had his first outing of the event in the Toro Rosso and was seventh-fastest in his half-day of running, which he shared with little-known Russian racer Daniil Kyvat, whose running was interrupted by a brief spin.
DTM veteran and McLaren reserve driver Gary Paffett finished up eighth-quickest overall in the MP4-28, although his appearance on the track was delayed with an engine issue in the morning.
Williams test driver Susie Wolff had her first serious, and long-awaited, outing behind the wheel of Williams’ FW35 racer. After concentrating on aero runs in the morning and pit stop practice in the afternoon, her day’s best time was about a second off that managed over the previous two days by Pastor Maldonado and Daniel Juncadella.
Caterham’s regular racers, Giedo van der Garde and Charles Pic, each had their first outings of the test with the CT03. The duo sandwiched Kyvat on the timesheets, with Pic proving the slower of the pair, just a tenth of a second ahead of Sauber’s representative for the day, Kimiya Sato.
Marussia split its running between reserve driver Rodolfo González and regular racer Jules Bianchi, with Bianchi finishing up slowest of all for the day.
|Pos||Driver||Team||Day 3 Result||Laps|
|1.||Sebastian Vettel||Red Bull Racing Renault RB9||1:32.894||79|
|2.||Adrian Sutil||Sahara Force India Mercedes VJM06||+ 0.348||99|
|3.||Nicolas Prost||Lotus Renault E21||+ 0.362||63|
|4.||Carlos Sainz Jr||Red Bull Racing Renault RB9||+ 0.652||35|
|5.||Davide Rigon||Scuderia Ferrari F138||+ 0.688||70|
|6.||Felipe Massa||Scuderia Ferrari F138||+ 0.730||69|
|7.||Jean-Éric Vergne||Scuderia Toro Rosso Ferrari STR8||+ 0.753||42|
|8.||Gary Paffett||McLaren Mercedes MP4-28||+ 2.030||77|
|9.||Susie Wolff||Williams Renault FW35||+ 2.199||89|
|10.||Giedo van der Garde||Caterham Renault CT03||+ 2.261||65|
|11.||Daniil Kyvat||Scuderia Toro Rosso Ferrari STR8||+ 2.387||22|
|12.||Charles Pic||Caterham Renault CT03||+ 2.682||60|
|13.||Kimiya Sato||Sauber Ferrari C32||+ 2.748||67|
|14.||Rodolfo González||Marussia Cosworth MR02||+ 3.442||24|
|15.||James Calado||Sahara Force India Mercedes VJM06||+ 3.557||6|
|16.||Jules Bianchi||Marussia Cosworth MR02||+ 3.850||39|