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Verstappen impresses Toro Rosso in maiden test

10 Sep 2014

Toro Rosso’s 2015 signing Max Verstappen had his first proper test in Formula One machinery on Wednesday when he completed almost 400 kilometres in a two-year old car at the Adria International Raceway in Italy.

The 16 year-old Dutchman, who will race alongside Daniil Kvyat when he makes his F1 race debut next season, did a mix of short and long runs in the 2012 STR7, as well as trying his hand at other features of a race weekend, such as pit stops and start launches.

“I was looking forward to my first drive in a Formula One car on a proper race track and I really enjoyed it,” said European F3 frontrunner Verstappen, whose only previous F1 experience was a brief demo run in Holland recently.

“It was a good opportunity to work with Xevi (Pujolar), who will be my race engineer next year, as well as having a chance to get used to all the buttons on the steering wheel. I think it went well and I can’t wait to get back into a Formula One car as soon as possible.”

The Adria track, which is about two hours’ drive from Toro Rosso’s Faenza factory, was damp in the morning after overnight rain and Verstappen’s first few runs were done on intermediate tyres, but conditions improved enough for him to switch to slicks later in the day and he completed 148 trouble-free laps of the 2.702 kilometre circuit.

“In his first real test in a Formula One car, Max did a very competent job, giving the impression he has been driving a Formula One car for quite a while, not like someone on their first day behind the wheel,” commented Toro Rosso sporting director Steve Nielsen. “He made no mistakes all day, seemed confident and once he was told something he remembered it. In general, he coped very well with this first test.”

Pujolar was equally impressed, adding: “He was very focused and precise and learned quickly, without having to ask many questions. Once we were able to fit slicks, he got used to the car in the dry and built up his speed, while we tried various fuel levels, replicating both qualifying and race trim, doing a mix of short and long runs. For a first day, it was very impressive.”