|© Glenn Dunbar/LAT Photographic/Williams
Williams was unsurprisingly the quickest of the three teams on day one of the young driver test at Silverstone on Thursday.
The British outfit’s reserve driver, Valtteri Bottas, set a time of 1 minute 31.436 seconds around the track comfortably ahead of the three other drivers that took part in the session.
The Finn completed 120 laps without any problems although a race simulation programme was interrupted by rain in the final 20 minutes ending the day early for the team.
“We had a little rain towards the end but tested everything we wanted to on mixed fuel levels,” Bottas reported. “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," he added.
Max Chilton was second quickest with a time of more than five seconds off the leading pace in the Marussia.
Towards the end of his outing, the car stopped out on track when some electrical noise caused the engine protection system to cut in.
“As we progressed I felt that I could really push the car and from then on we started to do some team development work, particularly with the engine, which gave me the chance to learn more about the controls,” the 21-year-old Chilton said.
The Briton ran in the morning in sunny conditions completing 34 laps before handing the car over to Rio Haryanto, who clocked the third fastest time before issues surfaced for him as well.
After lunch there was a slight delay as the team rigged the car with aerodynamic measurement devices and then 19-year-old got his programme underway until a fluid leak confined him to the garage and the weather closed in.
“It’s a little disappointing that I was only able to complete 19 laps today; even without the leak the weather turned against us later in the day,” the Indonesian driver said.
“We don’t know what to expect from the weather yet; I hope it is dry but even if it is wet it will be good wet running experience for me,” Haryanto added referring to his scheduled stint on Friday.
Like Williams, HRT too fielded a single driver in Ma Qing Hua in a programme that included short test stints for the 24-year-old to adapt to the car.
This was the first time that the Chinese national sat behind the wheel of a Formula 1 car. In the afternoon, the Shanghai-born driver completed two qualifying stints, one with hard tyres and another with softs, start and pit stop practices and a final long distance stint.
“Yesterday I found it hard to sleep and I tried to calm down by thinking that it was just another test,” Qing Hua said. “I think we did a good job and everything went according to plan, with good weather too.
“By being here during the Grand Prix, I learned a lot from my teammates and also to work as a team,” he pointed out.
||Ma Qing Hua