• Young Driver Test - Day 3

Vergne completes Young Driver Test clean sweep

ESPNF1 Staff
November 17, 2011 « Webber wants DRS qualifying changes | Hamilton underestimated Button - Whitmarsh »
Jean-Eric Vergne was fastest on all three days in Abu Dhabi © Sutton Images

Jean-Eric Vergne made it a clean sweep of the Young Driver Test by finishing day three with the quickest time in Abu Dhabi.

Vergne set his headline time in the morning session, becoming the only driver to drop below the 1m40s barrier at any point throughout the test. His final best time of 1:38.917 was just 0.436s slower than Sebastian Vettel's pole position time for Sunday's grand prix. The time would have been good enough for fifth on the grid ahead of Fernando Alonso, but can't be directly compared as teams tested 2012 parts and tyres throughout the three days.

Sam Bird finished the day with the second quickest time, improving heavily on his morning time having run the 2012-specification exhausts for Mercedes that prevent blowing of the diffuser. The test and reserve driver was focusing on data gathering rather than outright pace, leaving him 1.980s slower than Vergne.

Bird's time upset the order of the previous two days, which had seen Jules Bianchi in second place. He was third fastest with a time of 1:41.347 set in the morning session, and was the only driver to complete more laps than Bird as he clocked up 106. His afternoon work mainly consisted of evaluation of tyres on long distance runs, meaning he didn't improve and had Oliver Turvey (McLaren) and Max Chilton (Force India) close behind. While Turvey was only in the car for one session prior to today, Chilton's improvement was marked as he took almost 1.5s off his quickest time from Tuesday.

Esteban Gutierrez was sixth quickest but had his running come to a premature end as he caused a red flag with 15 minutes of the day to go, meaning he was unable to improve on his time of 1:42.049. He was followed by Mirko Bortolotti who took over the Williams from Valtteri Bottas for the final day and ended up with a time just under a second slower than Bottas' best.

Kevin Ceccon took over the Toro Rosso from Stefano Coletti for the afternoon session and was the quicker of the two with a best time of 1:43.686, despite only having time for 35 laps. Alexander Rossi was ninth for Lotus, ahead of Jan Charouz who was the third driver behind the wheel for Renault.

Robert Wickens was just off Berthon's time as he spent the afternoon in the Virgin following his FP1 appearance for the team last week, finishing the session 0.414s quicker than Charles Pic.


Driver Car Time Laps
1. Jean-Eric Vergne Red Bull RB7 1:38.917 46
2. Sam Bird Mercedes W02 1:40.897 104
3. Jules Bianchi Ferrari 150 1:41.347 106
4. Oliver Turvey McLaren MP4-26 1:41.513 89
5. Max Chilton Force India VJM-04 1:41.575 79
6. Esteban Gutierrez Sauber C30 1:42.049 77
7. Mirko Bortolotti Williams FW33 1:43.277 74
8. Kevin Ceccon Toro Rosso STR6 1:43.686 35
9. Alexander Rossi Lotus T128 1:44.283 74
10. Jan Charouz Renault R31 1:44.470 82
11. Stefano Coletti Toro Rosso STR6 1:44.545 48
12. Nathanael Barthon HRT F111 1:45.839 51
13. Robert Wickens Virgin MVR-02 1:45.934 34
14. Charles Pic Virgin MVR-02 1:46.348 49