Australian Daniel Ricciardo did his reputation in F1 circles no harm at all with a stunning lap time in the final day of the Jerez test for young drivers.
At the wheel of the Red Bull, the 20 year old Australian, who won the British F3 championship, clocked a time of 1m 17.418s, the fastest time of the week. It was set on low fuel and new tyres, but it is still a quick time to add to the impressive runs he had put in during high fuel running. Engineers from other teams had their eye on him from day one.
Ricciardo is from Perth, but his father is Sicilian and his mother Calabrian. He speaks some Italian and clearly felt at home in the F1 environment, telling Italian media colleages that driving an F1 car was not as hard as he thought it would be. Mind you, he was driving the car that won the last three Grands Prix of the season. Next season he will race in World Series.
While Jules Bianchi captured most of the attention this week for living out every boy’s dream and getting a first run in an F1 car at the wheel of a Ferrari and then announcing that he had signed a contract. Ricciardo and Paul di Resta are the two drivers who emerge from the week with their reputations most enhanced. Di Resta was second fastest today having thoroughly impressed the Force India team. He is hoping for a third driver role there, but may find some new F1 teams knocking on his door after this week’s performance.
Also in action today was Lucas di Grassi, who is a candidate for a drive with the Virgin Racing team.
The test was pronounced a success by the teams, who have been able to do some valuable work on testing the cars at their 2010 weight, which is 620 kilos (due to no refuelling next year). Many teams got some useful data to help with the development of their 2010 cars.
The next question is how many of these drivers will appear on the 2010 entry list when all the gaps are filled in by the new teams? It seems that there is some promising talent out there, although most of it still needs a bit of maturing.
JEREZ TEST DAY 3
1. Ricciardo Red Bull 1m17.418s 77
2. Di Resta Force India 1m18.736s 53
3. Paffett McLaren 1m18.746s 59
4. Conway Brawn 1m19.096s 77
5. Hulkenberg Williams 1m19.226s 106
6. Baguette Sauber 1m19.356s 70
7. Turvey McLaren 1m19.358s 32
8. Ericsson Brawn 1m19.382s 49
9. Di Grassi Renault 1m19.602s 123
10. Hildebrand Force India 1m19.873s 41
11. Sanchez Ferrari 1m21.147s 39
12. Zampieri Ferrari 1m21.279s 42
12. Zipoli Ferrari 1m21.725s 41
13. Hartley Toro Rosso 1m22.493s 50
15. Bortolotti Toro Rosso 1m23.271s 34
16. Tung Renault 1m32.477s 4