• Young Driver Test - Day 1

Vergne top at the end of day one

ESPNF1 Staff
November 15, 2011 « Win 'not a turning point' - Hamilton | Bianchi feels ready for F1 race seat »
Jean-Eric Vergne completed 82 laps in the RB7 © Sutton Images

Jean-Eric Vergne impressed for Red Bull as he set the fastest time on the opening day of the Young Driver Test in Abu Dhabi.

Vergne, who had already set the fastest time of the morning session, improved in the afternoon to set the headline time of a 1:40.011. Jules Bianchi was second for Ferrari with a 1:40.960 having spent much of the morning carrying out aerodynamic tests with large sensors on the car. Robert Wickens also showed good pace to set the third fastest time in the Renault, albeit 2.2s off the pace.

Fabio Leimer was a close fourth, with Gary Paffett fifth in the McLaren having taken over from Oliver Turvey for the afternoon session. Max Chilton managed 80 laps as he set the sixth quickest time in the Force India despite suffering with KERS issues, just ahead of Valtteri Bottas' Williams. Bottas lost time after lunch with a gearbox problem but still clocked up 71 laps throughout the day.

Mercedes was the least productive team, with Sam Bird only completing 12 laps in the morning as a transmission problem confined him to the garage, but he managed another 40 after lunch on his way to the ninth fastest time. Charles Pic beat Adrian Quaife-Hobbs' time by 0.3s having taken over his car at Virgin for the afternoon session.

Stefano Coletti, 11th quickest in the Toro Rosso, admitted it had been challenging getting used to the different characteristics of a Formula One car.

"Nothing I have driven so far in my career has come close to the feeling I got driving a Formula 1 car," Coletti said. "At first, I found it hard to adapt to the feel of the power steering through the wheel, especially in the high speed corners, but once I got used to it, I could start to enjoy the experience even more. It was interesting testing the new tyres and it meant I was fortunate to run with several new sets, which is not normally the case."

The times are notoriously difficult to read in to, however, as teams run development parts and test the 2012 tyres, with only the supersoft compound being supplied by Pirelli the same as has been used in races this season.


Driver Car Time Laps
1. Jean-Eric Vergne Red Bull RB7 1:40.0011 82
2. Jules Bianchi Ferrari 150 1:40.960 85
3. Robert Wickens Renault R31 1:42.217 77
4. Fabio Leimer Sauber C30 1:42.331 67
5. Gary Peffett McLaren MP4-26 1:42.912 41
6. Max Chilton Force India VJM04 1:43.016 80
7. Valtteri Bottas Williams FW33 1:43.118 71
8. Oliver Turvey McLaren MP4-26 1:43.502 35
9. Sam Bird Mercedes W02 1:43.548 52
10. Rodolfo Gonzalez Lotus T128 1:44.022 87
11. Stefano Coletti Toro Rosso STR06 1:45.278 87
12. Dani Clos HRT F111 1:45.329 68
13. Charles Pic Virgin MVR-02 1:46.930 30
14. Adrian Quaife-Hobbs Virgin MVR-02 1:47.292 32