Bianchi concludes young driver test with quickest time

© Ubaid Parkar, 14 September 2012
© Ferrari

Driving for Ferrari, Jules Bianchi was the fastest on the third and final day of the young driver test at Magny-Cours on Thursday, as he had been on the preceding two days.

The reserve driver for Force India, with whom he tested for on Wednesday, posted a time of 1 minute 16.985 in a session interrupted by light rain early in the morning making the French circuit tricky and forcing teams to run the intermediate and wet tyres.

“After a few hours the track dried and we carried on with our programme, centred mainly on aerodynamic measurement and set-up evaluation,” Bianchi said. “We tried to improve the balance of the car and looked at some things that could be useful in the upcoming races.”

Rodolfo Gonzalez was next in the Force India, which ran different aero settings, with the Venezuelan driving at Magny-Cours for the first time in his career.

Brendon Hartley, one of Mercedes’ simulator drivers, made his first on-track appearance for the German manufacturer as it continued to evaluate its new upgrades.

“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 1 car,” Hartley pointed out.

Williams, Marussia and HRT conducted their young driver test at Silverstone shortly after the British Grand Prix earlier this year. The rest of the teams are expected to run their test at the Yas Marina track at Abu Dhabi in November.

Meanwhile Marussia has already announced that it will field 20-year-old Tio Ellinas, the most successful Marussia Manor Racing driver in this season's GP3 series, in next year's young driver test.

Pos. Driver Team Time Gap Laps
1. Jules Bianchi Ferrari 1m 16.985s - 136
2. Rodolfo Gonzalez Force India 1m 18.018s +1.033s 79
3. Brendon Hartley Mercedes 1m 18.671s +1.686s 87

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