Davide Valsecchi was fastest for Lotus on the final day of the Young Driver Test
GP2 Champion makes most of opportunity at the Yas Marina Circuit
Last Updated: November 8, 2012 3:05pm
GP2 Champion Davide Valsecchi topped the timesheets for Lotus on the final day of the Young Driver Test in Abu Dhabi.
Having spent the previous two days on the sidelines, the Italian made the most of his opportunity to impress as he looks to graduate to F1 in 2013.
"It's been a really good experience for me," the 25-year-old said.
"I was very pleased with my sessions and followed everything the team asked of me without making any mistakes. 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. I want to say thank you to Lotus F1 Team who have been really good - the engineers and the mechanics have all been brilliant and it has been a great day for me."
The day also saw another run for Esteban Gutierrez in the Sauber while Robin Frijns, behind the wheel of the C31 on Tuesday, appeared for Red Bull. The pair are believed to be rivals for a seat with Sauber next season if the team opt to drop Kamui Kobayashi.
Although a precise comparison is impossible given differing track conditions and car adjustments, Gutierrez's fastest time on Thursday was seven-tenths quicker than that set by the Dutchman two days previously.
In all, Gutierrez completed 80 laps for Sauber as the team spent the morning working on aero parts, whilst in the afternoon they tested a new front suspension with the 21-year-old running each of the three sets of tyres available - the hards, softs and mediums.
"I think today's programme was very useful," the young Mexican said after finishing with the third fastest time.
"Not only for me, but also for the team because we were able to test and analyse a lot of different things. 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.
"Nevertheless I am very happy with how the two days of testing went and I want to thank the Sauber F1 Team for all its work."
It wasn't such a successful outing for Alexander Rossi, though, as he was forced to cut his day in the Caterham short due to an oil leak. The American was unable to do any 'hot laps' but he enjoyed the experience nonetheless.
"It's been a great day in the car and I want to thank the whole team for giving me the chance to drive in Abu Dhabi," Rossi said.
"I last drove this car in P1 in Barcelona back in May and it's definitely come on a long way since then.
"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. 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."
Day Three times:
1) Davide Valsecchi Lotus 1:42.677 86 Laps
2) Kevin Magnussen McLaren 1:42.827 51 Laps
3) Esteban Gutierrez Sauber 1:43.093 80 Laps
4) Robin Frijns Red Bull 1:43.233 53 Laps
5) Oliver Turvey McLaren 1:43.604 44 Laps
6) Luiz Razia Toro Rosso 1:45.286 68 Laps
7) Alexander Rossi Caterham 1:46.485 85 Laps.
How the times compare...
Day Two times:
1) Antonio Felix da Costa Red Bull 1:42.679 62 Laps
2) Oliver Turvey McLaren 1:43.176 62 Laps
3) Edoardo Mortara Lotus 1:43.418 75 Laps
4) Esteban Gutierrez Sauber 1:43.485 94 Laps
5) Gary Paffett McLaren 1:43.771 41 Laps
6) Johnny Cecotto Jr Toro Rosso 1:44.569 76 Laps
7) Giedo van der Garde Caterham 1:45.106 72 Laps.
Day One times:
1) Kevin Magnussen McLaren 1:42.651 40 laps
2) Antonio Felix da Costa Red Bull 1:42.717 79 laps
3) Gary Paffett McLaren 1:43.407 44 laps
4) Robin Frijns Sauber 1:43.775 78 laps
5) Nicolas Prost Lotus-Renault 1:44.194 55 laps
6) Luiz Razia Toro Rosso-Ferrari 1:44.691 67 laps
7) Giedo van der Garde Caterham 1:45.936 57 laps