• Abu Dhabi young driver test - Day one

Ricciardo tops Abu Dhabi young driver test for Red Bull

ESPNF1 Staff
November 16, 2010 « Liuzzi still confident he will be at Force India in 2011 | »
Daniel Ricciardo was the fastest driver in Abu Dhabi on Tuesday © Getty Images

Red Bull's Daniel Ricciardo set the pace on the opening day of the young driver test in Abu Dhabi, just two days after the team wrapped up the drivers' title with Sebastian Vettel at the same circuit.

Ricciardo's best time of 1:39.616 was just 0.222 seconds off Vettel's pole position time last Saturday, although the circuit conditions have improved after 55 laps of running on Sunday. Ricciardo is a rising star in the Red Bull junior programme, having finished second in the Formula Renault 3.5 championship this year and being named as the team's permanent reserve driver.

Mirroring Saturday's F1 qualifying, a McLaren was second fastest, with Oliver Turvey continuing in fine form after taking pole in the GP2 feature race over the weekend. He was over a second off Ricciardo's best but was likely running heavier fuel and a different testing programme. He will hand the car over to Gary Paffett tomorrow before returning to test the new Pirelli tyres at the weekend.

Force India's Antonio Felix da Costa set the third fastest time for Force India with a late effort to beat Sauber test driver Esteban Gutierrez in fourth. Felix da Costa also beat the morning baseline time set by Force India's permanent test driver Paul di Resta by over a second, but again fuel loads and test programmes are unknown.

F2 champion Dean Stoneman was a solid fifth fastest for Williams, as he made the most of his prize for topping the feeder series this year. Formula Renault 3.5 champion Mikhail Aleshin also made good use of his prize and was sixth fastest at the end of the day in the Renault.

Sam Bird holds a slide in his Mercedes © Getty Images
British F3 champion and Red Bull protégé Jean-Eric Vergne was seventh fastest, but will get another day of testing on Wednesday to try to improve his time. Sam Bird will also complete a second day after clocking the ninth fastest time in his Mercedes behind di Resta. Bird was one of the most exciting prospects to emerge from this year's GP2 championship and was picked by Mercedes on the back of his feature race victory at the Italian Grand Prix.

Virgin's Jerome d'Ambrosio was the fastest of the new team drivers, but has completed significant mileage in the car during Friday testing this year. He is tipped for a race drive next year, replacing Lucas di Grassi, and his best lap was a full second faster than the Brazilian's qualifying time.

Pastor Maldonado, another driver likely to be on the grid next year, also impressed. The 2010 GP2 champion was at the wheel of an HRT on Tuesday before switching to Williams - his likely team for 2011 - on Wednesday. He was a tenth of a second up on the Ferrari of Jules Bianchi, who was not out to set fastest laps and will drive again on Wednesday, and two tenths up on Roldofo Gonzalez in the Lotus. Indonesian Rio Haryanto was off the pace in the Vrgin but was sidelined for much of his session by a technical problem.

The second day of testing will see a number of changes at several teams, with Sauber's 2011 driver Sergio Perez among those making their F1 debuts.

Pos. Driver Car Best Time Laps
1 Daniel Ricciardo Red Bull 1:39.616 83
2 Oliver Turvey McLaren 1:40.725 85
3 Antonio Felix da Costa Force India 1:41.381 77
4 Esteban Gutierrez Sauber 1:41:432 88
5 Dean Stoneman Williams 1:41.522 70
6 Mikhail Aleshin Renault 1:42.073 58
7 Jean-Eric Vergne Toro Rosso 1:42.489 93
8 Paul di Resta Force India 1:42.736 28
9 Sam Bird Mercedes 1:42.985 67
10 Jerome d'Ambrosio Virgin 1:43.518 36
11 Pastor Maldonado HRT 1:43.750 108
12 Jules Bianchi Ferrari 1:43.894 59
13 Rodolfo Gonzalez Lotus 1:44.294 83
14 Rio Haryanto Virgin 1:49.439 21