Valsecchi ends Abu Dhabi test on top
8 November 2012 – GP2 Champion Davide Valsecchi led the way as Abu Dhabi’s Young Driver test came to a close on Thursday. The Lotus driver was ahead of McLaren’s Kevin Magnussen, but the Dane’s lap time from Tuesday is fastest of the week.
Once again, conditions were ideal as the third and final day of the test commenced. Completing more laps than anybody, Valsecchi took up at Lotus where Nicolas Prost and Edoardo Mortara had left off, lapping the track 86 times. His best effort came in the form of 1:42.677, edging out Magnussen by less than two tenths of a second.
Magnussen, son of former F1 driver Jan, was feeling far more comfortable with the McLaren and trialled various setups and fuel loads, hence the reason why his overall best lap time did not fall. In third position was Esteban Gutiérrez, regular reserve driver for Sauber who may be racing for the Swiss team in 2013.
Robin Frijns had begun his week with Sauber, but now switched to championship-leading Red Bull as a reward for picking up the Formula Renault 3.5 title. The three days this week could serve as crucial running time for the team ahead of the final two races. Chief rivals Ferrari – like Mercedes and Force India – were not able to run, as they tested at Magny-Cours earlier in the year. Williams and HRT were the other two teams not attending, as their own in-season test had come at Silverstone.
England's Oliver Turvey was also still on-hand for McLaren, having previously shared the car with fellow English countryman Gary Paffett. Like most, the Woking squad ran ugly aerodynamic sensors to accurately measure airflow. Luiz Razia stepped back into the Toro Rosso to finish sixth, whereas Caterham worked with American Alex Rossi.
Rossi was unable to carry out any performance runs which would have concentrated on lap times, as mechanics spotted oil dripping from the car and had to end the test early. Nevertheless, the team was impressed with the 21-year-old’s performance.
The teams now travel to Austin, Texas for the first time ahead of next weekend, as Formula 1 returns to the United States for the first time in five years