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Jerez day three - Ricciardo on top as test ends 03 Dec 2009

Daniel Ricciardo (AUS) Red Bull Racing RB5 Formula One Young Driver Testing, 1-3 December 2009, Jerez Circuit, Spain. JR Hildebrand (USA) Force India F1 Team, VJM02 Formula One Young Driver Testing, 1-3 December 2009, Jerez Circuit, Spain. Daniel Zampieri (ITA) Ferrari F60 Formula One Young Driver Testing, 1-3 December 2009, Jerez Circuit, Spain. Bertrand Baguette (BEL) BMW Sauber F1.09 Formula One Young Driver Testing, 1-3 December 2009, Jerez Circuit, Spain. Oliver Turvey (GBR) McLaren Mercedes MP4-24 Formula One Young Driver Testing, 1-3 December 2009, Jerez Circuit, Spain.

Reigning British Formula Three champion Daniel Ricciardo stole everyone’s thunder in the Red Bull as this week’s young driver test at Jerez drew to a close on Thursday. Riccardio’s best lap of 1m 17.418s around the Spanish circuit saw him finish over a second clear of the Force India of DTM racer Paul di Resta.

Following on from the past two days, Red Bull again worked on aerodynamic testing aimed at 2010, getting through their entire programme, even though track time was shortened by some light rain in the middle of the day. Ricciardo’s best lap was the fastest recorded at Jerez this year.

“These last three days have been an incredible experience for me,” said the Australian, as he reluctantly stepped out of the cockpit. “I would like to thank Red Bull for giving me this great opportunity, which has made me even more determined to make it into Formula One one day. I know it was just a test, but seeing my name on the top of today’s timesheet was really something special.”

At Force India, Scotland’s Di Resta again shared driving duties with American JR Hildebrand, who finished tenth. The team’s programme comprised further aero and mechanical set-up evaluation over both long and short runs.

“A satisfactory completion to the test today,” commented Dominic Harlow, Force India’s chief race engineer. “The weather cost us a little track time at the start of the day and in the early afternoon, but with our programme adjusted we were able to accomplish most of what we set out achieve. Overall the Young Driver Test has proven to be a very positive initiative for F1, and it's been a productive test to finish the year.”

Wednesday’s quickest runner, McLaren’s Gary Paffett, was third fastest after spending the afternoon on a very disciplined series of set-up and tyre analysis runs. For the morning session Oliver Turvey was at the wheel of the MP4-24, concluding the running he began on Tuesday afternoon. On a slippery track, Turvey began with a number of aero tests at slower speeds until conditions improved and the test team switched him to a 10-lap run, running through a suite of different set-ups to give him a feel for the changes.

“Oliver did a very good job and contributed towards our week’s test work,” said McLaren’s test team manager Indy Lall. “He made a very good impression on his introduction to Formula One.”

Mike Conway and Marcus Ericsson were again in action for Brawn, finishing fourth and eighth respectively. Conway completed 77 laps in the morning and Ericsson took over the car for the afternoon and completed 49 laps as the pair concluded the test programme by working through a series of set-up evaluations.

"Mike and Marcus have done a very good job during the test in Jerez this week,” commented team principal Ross Brawn. “It has been a busy programme with a wide variety of test items to cover and their technical input has been to a very high standard. We know Mike well from his previous tests with the team and his feedback has been to his usual excellent standard. Marcus had his first opportunity in a Formula One car this week and he has performed very well showing exceptional maturity in his approach and feedback."

Fifth in the timesheets was Nico Hulkenberg, who will race for Williams next season. “We’ve had two positive days at Jerez,” said the German. “It was good for me to get back in the car and get some laps in before next year. I covered a lot of mileage, which I was pleased about, and I got used to driving the F1 car quite quickly, which I wasn’t really expecting as it’s been quite a long time since my last outing. The car felt good and we fitted in a lot of set-up work, so I’m happy with the two days.”

After his Renault outing earlier in the week, Bertrand Baguette was sixth quickest, this time for BMW Sauber. The 23-year-old Belgian started work by familiarising himself with the car, before moving on to aerodynamic tests, including downforce measurements on different configurations. The engineers were very happy with Baguette’s feedback and comments, as well as with the useful overall results of the day.

Renault completed their final day of testing with the team’s third driver Lucas Di Grassi ninth fastest as he covered 123 laps behind the wheel of the R29. Ho-Pin Tung also had the chance to drive a handful of extra laps in the damp conditions, adding to the 67 laps he completed on Wednesday. Renault’s priority for the day was to continue evaluating developments for 2010 and to add mileage to new components.

“We ran the car quite heavy in the morning as we did some work on the brakes and then in the afternoon we completed some back-to-back testing on the front and rear suspension,” explained Alan Permane, Renault’s chief race engineer. “While the track was damp we put Ho-Pin back in the car to give him the chance to experience an F1 car in wet conditions. Overall it has been a successful week for us: the team has worked hard and we've come away with a lot of valuable data which will be useful for the development of next year's car."

On track for Ferrari were the top three finishers in this year’s Italian Formula Three championship - the Italians, Daniel Zampieri and Marco Zipoli and the Mexican, Pablo Sanchez Lopez. Between them they covered a total of 122 laps, with Sanchez Lopez the quickest of the trio, who finished 11th, 12th and 13th.

Toro Rosso completed the timesheets, with Mirko Bortolotti at the wheel of the STR4 in the morning and Brendon Hartley taking over for the afternoon. The test produced plenty of aero measurement data for the engineers to work on for next year and, although frustrating for the drivers, as it affected their lap times, the car was run in heavyweight configuration for most of the time, in order to assess the impact of running heavy fuel loads next year.

“Both drivers did a good job,” commented Toro Rosso team principal Franz Tost. “They are talented and if they do well in other racing categories in 2010, I think they have a good chance of being up to the required standard to make it into Formula One in 2011. We completed many laps and we achieved our main targets, namely to get an impression of both the drivers and to carry out some tests aimed at next year.”

Unofficial Thursday times from Jerez:
1. Daniel Ricciardo, Red Bull, 1:17.418
2. Paul Di Resta, Force India, 1:18.736
3. Gary Paffett, McLaren, 1:18.746
4. Mike Conway, Brawn GP, 1:19.096
5. Nico Hulkenberg, Williams, 1:19.226
6. Bertrand Baguette, BMW Sauber, 1:19.356
7. Oliver Turvey, McLaren, 1:19.358
8. Marcus Ericsson, Brawn GP, 1:19.382
9. Lucas di Grassi, Renault, 1:19.602
10. JR Hildebrand, Force India, 1:19.873
11. Pablo Sanchez Lopez, Ferrari, 1:21. 147
12. Daniel Zampieri, Ferrari, 1:21.279
13. Marco Zipoli, Ferrari, 1:21.725
14. Brendon Hartley, Toro Rosso, 1:22.493
15. Mirko Bortolotti, Toro Rosso, 1:23.271
16. Ho-Pin Tung, Renault, 1:32.477