• Young Driver Test

Bottas tops first day of Silverstone Young Driver Test

ESPN Staff
July 12, 2012
Valtteri Bottas was comfortably fastest at Thursday's Young Driver Test © Sutton Images

Williams test driver Valtteri Bottas topped the timesheets at the end of the first day of this week's Young Driver Test at Silverstone.

Williams, Marussia and HRT have all stayed on at the circuit to take part in the two-day test, while the rest of the teams are set to test their young drivers separately in Abu Dhabi later this year. Bottas' best time of 1:31.436 was over five seconds faster than Marussia drivers Max Chilton and Rio Haryanto, who shared the day's testing in the MR01 between them. Ma Qing Hua became the first Chinese-born driver to test a Formula One as he spent a day at the wheel of the HRT.

"It's been a busy day completing 120 laps without any problems," Bottas said. "We had a little rain towards the end but tested everything we wanted to on mixed fuel levels. It's been a really useful day for both me and the team. The shorter runs are good fun, especially on this track, but I was particularly looking forward to the longer runs. It was really useful to gather some information on how the tyres behave over the various runs and I feel that I am continuing to improve as a driver."

Qing Hua set his best time during a qualifying simulation on soft tyres, and after getting through his planned running programme, HRT have opted not to stay at Silverstone for a second day.

"It was a fantastic feeling to drive a Formula One car for the first time; it's not easy to put into words what I felt," Qing Hua said. "Yesterday I found it hard to sleep and I tried to calm down by thinking that it was just another test. I think we did a good job and everything went according to plan, with good weather too.

"I'm very proud to represent China and be a pioneer for my nation in this sport. I'm confident that these tests and the ones that will come in the future will help motorsport to grow in China in the future and will grant more opportunities for everyone. This is only a first small step but once more I want to express my gratitude to everyone who has supported me and made this possible."

Both Marussia experienced technical problems with an electrical issue cutting the engine while Chilton was aboard and a fluid leak bringing Haryanto's session to an end one hour before the chequered flag.


Driver Car Time Laps
1. Valtteri Bottas Williams FW34 1:31.436 120
2. Max Chilton Marussia MR01 1:36.558 34
3. Rio Haryanto Marussia MR01 1:37.404 19
4. Ma Qing Hua HRT F112 1:37.829 82