Abu Dhabi Young Drivers Test

The young drivers test is an excellent end to an exciting year; it’s for any driver that hasn’t completed more than two F1 races. A great opportunity to see the vision of the future; and for some that future comes quicker than most. Pastor Maldonado has been tipped to take over the empty seat that Nico Hulkenberg has left at Williams; bringing with him a fair-sized lump of cash, it’s not exactly hard to see why. Below are the results for both days of testing; the times on the second day were significantly better as they got to grips with the cars and the track rubbered in. For some this is the first time driving a F1 car for this length of time; or even at all, some commented on the massive leap between GP2…get used to it boys!

Day 1 Results:

Position   Driver   Team Time
1 Daniel Ricciardo Red Bull 1:39.616
2 Oliver Turvey McLaren 1:40.725
3 Antonio Felix da Costa Force India 1:41.381
4 Esteban Guiterrez BMW Sauber 1:41.432
5 Dean Stoneman Williams 1:41.522
6 Mikhail Aleshin Renault 1:42.073
7 Jean-Eric Vergne Toro Rosso 1:42.489
8 Paul di Resta Force India 1:42.736
9 Sam Bird Mercedes GP 1:42.985
10 Jerome D’Ambrosio Virgin 1:43.518
11 Pastor Maldonado HRT 1:43.750
12 Jules Bianchi Ferrari 1:43.894
13 Rodolfo Gonzalez Lotus 1:44.924
14 Rio Haryanto Virgin 1:49.439

Day 2 Results:

Position   Driver   Team Time
1 Daniel Ricciardo Red Bull 1:38.102
2 Jerome D’Ambrosio Renault 1:38.802
3 Sam Bird Mercedes GP 1:39.220
4 Gary Paffett McLaren 1:39.760
5 Jules Bianchi Ferrari 1:39.916
6 Sergio Perez BMW Sauber 1:40.543
7 Paul Di Resta Force India 1:40.901
8 Pastor Maldonado Williams 1:40.944
9 Jean-Eric Vergne Toro Rosso 1:40.974
10 Yelmer Buurman Force India 1:41.178
11 Davide Valsecchi HRT 1:43.013
12 Luiz Razia Virgin 1:43.525
13 Josef Kral HRT 1:44.143
14 Rodolfo Gonzalez Lotus 1:44.312
15 Vladimir Arabadzhiev Lotus 1:45.723

The young drivers testing has concluded and to put it simply; Red Bull’s season has finished on a massive high. Daniel Ricciardo again posted the fastest time in the RB6 around the Yas Marina circuit. More data is coming through from the first day of testing and it puts a different light on yesterdays results. Oliver Turvey came second; it’s no surprise that the McLaren was fastest through the speed trap; it’s a testament to the driver’s skill that he was able to get that out of the car. Another surprise was the HRT reaching the heady heights of 315.7kph…did we see that from it during the season? It’s a good showing from Maldonado who will be driving for Williams next year; bringing a hefty lump of cash with him.

Speed trap times for day 1:

Driver Car Fastest Speed (kph)
Oliver Turvey McLaren 317.5
Pastor Maldonado HRT 315.7
Antonio Felix da Costa Force India 315.7
Dean Stoneman Williams 312.9
Sam Bird Mercedes 312
Daniel Ricciardo Red Bull 312
Rodolfo Gonzalez Lotus 311.1
Jean-Eric Vergne Toro Rosso 310.2
Jules Bianchi Ferrari 309.3
Paul di Resta Force India 309.3
Esteban Gutierrez Sauber 309.3
Jerome d’Ambrosio Virgin 308.4
Mikhail Aleshin Renault 307.5
Rio Haryanto Virgin 299.8

It’ll be interesting to see where these guys end up in the coming years; you’ll hopefully hear their names mentioned through the next season, teams tend to bring them out on the first free practice on Fridays. Jerome d’Ambrosio made an appearance during the 2010 season; replacing Lucas di Grassi at Virgin on four occasions during the Friday practice (Singapore, Japan, Korea, Brazil).

There are two aims of the testing session; the most important one is to get some serious mileage on the clock for these future drivers; Maldonado completed over 100 laps in his HRT car, impressive considering the reliability issues the car had during the season. The other one is a tad more superficial…showing off the talent you are bringing up through the ranks. I’m sure Ricciardo will make an appearance at Red Bull (or Toro Rosso) in the future; Turvey might have a longer wait for a seat at McLaren as Hamilton and Button look set for the long haul. If Massa has another so-so season in 2011; I can see some space at Ferrari opening up, not necessarily for their test driver…but a space at the top means a shuffle down below. The bottom end of the table is where we are more likely to see some of these rookies come through. But someone could pull a Hamilton…

Only a matter of time!

Later rookies!

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