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Magny-Cours day two - Bianchi top on Force India ‘return’ 12 Sep 2012

Jules Bianchi (FRA) Force India F1 VJM05.
Formula One Young Drivers Test, Day Two, Magny Cours, France, Wednesday, 12 September 2012 Sam Bird (GBR) Mercedes AMG F1 W03.
Formula One Young Drivers Test, Day Two, Magny Cours, France, Wednesday, 12 September 2012 Davide Rigon (ITA) Ferrari F2012.
Formula One Young Drivers Test, Day Two, Magny Cours, France, Wednesday, 12 September 2012 Michael Schumacher (GER) Mercedes AMG F1.
Formula One Young Drivers Test, Day Two, Magny Cours, France, Wednesday, 12 September 2012

Having topped the times with Ferrari at Magny-Cours on Tuesday, France’s Jules Bianchi returned to the more familiar environs of Force India on Wednesday. The result was the same, however, as Bianchi led the way on day two of this week’s young driver test at his home circuit.

Bianchi finished a second up on Mercedes’ Sam Bird, who had team mate Michael Schumacher looking on, while Italian GP2 star Davide Rigon completed the timesheets for Ferrari. All three men had highly productive sessions, completing over 400 laps between them.

“I’ve done a lot of Friday practice sessions with the team, but when you spend a full day in the car you can do so much more and really start to find the limit,” said Bianchi. “It was a chance for me to get more used to the control systems and experience the car on both high and low fuel. The team asked me to work on the set-up and we saw the lap times improve during the day. The time in the car today was very valuable and will allow me to help the team even more in the remaining seven races of the season.”

Bird continued to test the latest developments on the F1 W03 and the British driver, who will hand over to former Red Bull reserve, now Mercedes simulator driver, Brendon Hartley on Thursday, was pleased with progress.

“We've had a second very positive day at the test and successfully completed our planned schedule, including the evaluation of the performance items that we wanted to achieve,” said Bird. “We're happy with the results that we've seen so far and there is a lot of information to go through to hopefully help improve the car. It was a great experience to be back behind the wheel of a Formula One car this week, and to help with the development programme, and I would like to thank the team for giving me this opportunity.”

For Rigon, it was his first appearance at an official test for Ferrari, having previously carried out promotional work for the Italian team.

“I’ve already been to Magny-Cours twice in other categories, but driving a Formula One car here was incredible,” he said. “At the start I was very excited, but after 10 laps I was able to concentrate completely on the day’s busy programme. Doing so many laps gave me the opportunity to improve my feeling at the wheel and to understand the difference between the work on the simulator and being on track in a real car. It was also useful that, technically, this track is very complete.”

The young driver test concludes on Thursday, with Hartley in the Mercedes, Bianchi returning to the Ferrari cockpit, and Venezuela’s Rodolfo Gonzalez at the wheel for Force India.

Unofficial Wednesday test times from Magny-Cours:
1. Jules Bianchi, Force India, 1m 16.467, 117 Laps
2. Sam Bird, Mercedes, 1m 17.482, 125 Laps
3. Davide Rigon, Ferrari, 1m 17.925, 163 Laps

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