Bottas on top of Silverstone Thursday Young Driver Test
By Berthold Bouman
Unfortunately for all young drivers hoping to once make it into Formula One, this year’s Young Driver Test has become a sort of farce, as only HRT, Williams and Marussia will be testing at Silverstone on July 12 and 13. The other teams did not wish to test at Silverstone, but will be conducting their Young Driver Test at the Yas Marina Circuit after the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix on November 4.
Driving for Williams today was Valtteri Bottas, who completed several short and long runs. However, the famous British summer struck again as it started to rain towards the end of the day. Bottas commented, “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.”
Tom McCullough, Williams Race Engineer, was happy with the 22-year old Finn’s performance, “The car was reliable all day allowing us to gather lots of data for evaluation. We had a very ambitious run plan and achieved nearly everything which is a good result. Valtteri drove excellently all day, doing everything we asked of him without putting a foot wrong.”
The Spanish HRT team decided at the last moment to also test at Silverstone instead of Abu Dhabi. Chinese driver Ma Qing Hua was the lucky one to get behind of the wheel of the HRT F112, it was his first outing in a Formula One car. “It was a fantastic feeling to drive a Formula 1 car for the first time; it’s not easy to put into words what I felt. Yesterday I found it hard to sleep and I tried to calm down by thinking that it was just another test,” he said.
And he further commented, “By being here during the Grand Prix, I learned a lot from my team mates and also to work as a team, as it is very important to give the right information to the engineers in order to optimise the performance of the car. In the morning we did the maximum amount of running to get used to the car, engineers and mechanics and buttons, and also to gain confidence.”
Team Principal Louis Perez-Sala stated, “We’re very happy to have given Ma this opportunity and also very satisfied and proud of how it went. We’ve got a lot of trust in him and he has responded by doing a good job. We’ve followed him for a long time and since he joined our programme he’s proven his ability and work capacity. nd today he showed it once more with an excellent job. It’s not easy to drive a Formula 1 car and he made no mistakes.”
For Marussia, Max Chilton and Rio Haryanto were in the MR01, Chilton was in the car in the morning and Haryato in the afternoon, but both experienced technical problems.
Fastest today was Bottas with a time of 1m31.436s, Chilton was second and fastest for Marussia with a lap of 1m36.558s, Haryanto third with 1m37.404s and Chinese driver Qing Hua was fourth with 1m37.829s in the HRT. Bottas completed 120 laps, Chilton 34, Haryanto 19 and Qing Hua 82.