• Abu Dhabi Young Driver Test

Valsecchi finishes third day on top

ESPN Staff
November 8, 2012
Davide Valsecchi finished the session on top © Sutton Images

GP2 champion Davide Valsecchi finished the third and final day of the Young Driver Test at the top of the timesheets in Abu Dhabi.

Valsecchi was driving the grand prix-winning Lotus E20 and his best lap was 0.150s clear of Kevin Magnussen in the McLaren. He spent the morning evaluating the team's double DRS device before being let lose on a performance run in the afternoon.

"I was very pleased with my sessions and followed everything the team asked of me without making any mistakes," he said. "I took it very easy in the morning so I could get used to the car and soon became more confident, meaning towards the end I was much better in terms of pace. The team listened to my feedback and made the changes I suggested, particularly towards the end of running."

Magnussen, whose fastest time on Tuesday still stands as the best of the week, shared the MP4-27 with regular test driver Oliver Turvey, who was fifth fastest overall. McLaren assessed some mechanical changes as well as a new front wing and Magnussen's afternoon running allowed him to complete the required mileage to apply for an F1 superlicense.

Esteban Gutierrez was third fastest in the Sauber as he vies for a race seat at the team next year. His time was clocked on a set of fresh soft tyres as Sauber gave him the opportunity to prove his raw pace, but he said he did not hook up the perfect lap as he finished 0.426s off Valsecchi's best.

"I tried to give precise feedback over the day and in the end I was pushing a bit with the soft tyres, but I must admit I didn't manage to make use of the peak of the tyres' performance."

World Series by Renault champion Robin Frijns, who tested for Sauber on Tuesday, was fourth fastest as he took to the wheel of the Red Bull. The Red Bull test was a prize for winning the Formula Renault 3.5 title this year and he completed 53 laps over the course of the day with a best time of 1:43.233.

Luiz Razia was sixth fastest as he returned to the cockpit of the Toro Rosso for the second time this week. He completed 68 laps in total despite feeling under the weather.

"It was tough for me today, because I've been running a fever, although it didn't stop me completing the programme," he said. "Like on Tuesday, the team had plenty of work for me to do and I was happy that I was able to find a good balance on the car and also had more confidence when it came to changing settings from the steering wheel while I was driving."

Alexander Rossi rounded off the times as he returned to the cockpit of the Caterham for the first time since Friday morning practice at the Spanish Grand Prix. However, his final low-fuel run was cancelled due to an oil leak.

"It's obviously not ideal that we had to end the session early, but when I boxed after my 14th run there was oil on the garage floor so the engineers had to call the session over," Rossi said. "That meant I didn't have the chance to do any performance runs and I'm sure if I did my laptimes would have been close to the race drivers, but issues like that are just one of those things. They'll take a proper look at what caused the problem and I'm sure it won't affect the team's preparations for Austin or Brazil."


Driver Car Time Laps
1. Davide Valsecchi Lotus E20 1:42.677s 86
2. Kevin Magnussen McLaren MP4-27 1:42.827 51
3. Esteban Gutierrez Sauber C31 1:43.093 80
4. Robin Frijns Red Bull RB8 1:43.233 53
5. Oliver Turvey Lotus E20 1:43.604 44
6. Luiz Razia Toro Rosso STR7 1:45.286 68
7. Alexander Rossi Caterham CT01 1:46.485 85

Esteban Gutierrez in the final sector of the lap © Sutton Images