Bottas tops opening day of Silverstone test
12 July 2012 – Valtteri Bottas topped the timesheets as Silverstone's Young Driver Test got underway on Thursday, the Finn posting a quickest time of 1:31.436. Testing alongside Marussia's Max Chilton and Rio Haryanto, plus HRT newcomer Ma Qing Hua, the Williams man had the benefit of driving much stronger machinery.
"It’s been a busy day completing 120 laps without any problems," Bottas said after his day at the wheel. "We had a little rain towards the end but tested everything we wanted to on mixed fuel levels. It’s been a really useful day for both me and the team.
"The shorter runs are good fun, especially on this track, but I was particularly looking forward to the longer runs. It was really useful to gather information on how the tyres behave over the various runs and I feel that I am continuing to improve as a driver."
The predominantly clear conditions in Northamptonshire allowed for extensive testing programmes up and down the pit lane, with Bottas completing shorter runs in the morning before switching his focus to a race simulation later in the afternoon. Chilton began the test for Marussia, posting the day's second fastest time despite a technical gremlin, forcing him to end his on-track schedule earlier than planned.
Haryanto wound up third overall, almost a second behind Chilton. However, the Indonesian driver completed substantially less laps than his Carlin GP2 team-mate, with late rainfall curtailing the field's efforts. In the HRT, Qing Hua finished some six seconds off the pace, having experienced his first ever laps in a Formula 1 car.
Silverstone's Young Driver Test resumes and concludes on Friday