Magny-Cours day three - Bianchi makes it a hat trick 13 Sep 2012
Frances Jules Bianchi, Ferrari Driver Academy member and Force India reserve, topped the times for the third day in a row on Thursday, as this weeks young driver test at Magny-Cours drew to a close. In Ferraris F2012, Bianchi recorded a best lap of 1m 16.985s around the French circuit.
With the initially wet conditions improving in time for dry running in the afternoon session, Bianchi completed a mammoth 138 laps as he finished well ahead of Rodolfo Gonzalez for Force India.
In the morning, I did a few laps to get a feel for the car on the intermediate tyres and even though there was not much grip, it was no bad thing to get some experience in the wet, after two days of dry testing said Bianchi. After a few hours the track dried and we carried on with our programme, centred mainly on aerodynamic measurement and set-up evaluation. I feel I learned a lot from this test and I think the work was constructive for me and for the team. We tried to improve the balance of the car and looked at some things that could be useful in the upcoming races.
Gonzalez had previously tested a Formula One car with Team Lotus (now Caterham), but this was the Venezuelans first time at the wheel of Force Indias VJM05.
Today has been a great experience, said Gonzalez. The conditions were quite difficult to begin with because of the wet start to the day, but it was good to try out the wet and intermediate tyres. The other main task was getting used to the control systems and building my speed and feel for the car.
Im quite happy with my pace today, although I think there was more to come because it was my first time driving at Magny-Cours and my first time in the car. The team did a great job of making me feel welcome and comfortable, and I really hope to get another chance to drive a Formula One car soon.
Completing the timesheets was New Zealander Brendon Hartley, the Mercedes simulator driver and former Red Bull F1 reserve enjoying his first official test outing with the German team.
It was an amazing feeling to be back driving a Formula One car today, and I would like to thank the Mercedes AMG Petronas team for giving me this opportunity, he said. It was a successful day for both me and the team, and we completed the programme, despite the weather. I'm happy with my performance and pleased that it only took a couple of runs before I was on the pace as it's been three years since I last drove a Formula One car.
Six teams - Marussia, Williams, HRT, Ferrari, Force India and Mercedes - have now completed their 2013 young driver tests. The remaining six are expected to carry out theirs at Abu Dhabis Yas Marina Circuit in the week following Novembers Grand Prix.
Unofficial Thursday test times from Magny-Cours:
1. Jules Bianchi, Ferrari, 1m 16.985, 138 Laps
2. Rodolfo Gonzalez, Force India, 1m 18.018, 79 Laps
3. Brendon Hartley, Mercedes, 1m 18.671, 87 Laps
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