Reigning GP2 champion Davide Valsecchi, at the wheel of the Lotus E20, topped the timesheets on the final day of the Young Driver Test in Abu Dhabi.
On his way to posting a best time of 1:42.677, the second best of the entire test, the Italian completed 86 laps, bringing Lotus total this week to 213 as its focus now switches to next weekend's United States Grand Prix next weekend.In the morning Valsecchi concentrated on aerodynamic testing and DDRS iterations bewfore switching to front drum testing and tyre assessment in the afternoon.
"It's been a really good experience for me," said the Italian. "I was very pleased with my sessions and followed everything the team asked of me without making any mistakes. I took it very easy in the morning so I could get used to the car and soon became more confident, meaning towards the end I was much better in terms of pace.
"The team listened to my feedback and made the changes I suggested," he continued, "particularly towards the end of running. I want to say thank you to Lotus F1 Team who have been really good; the engineers and the mechanics have all been brilliant and it has been a great day for me."
"The final day's running with Davide has been a good end to our test," added race engineer Simon Rennie. "In the morning we completed additional aerodynamic work and looked at further evaluation of our DDRS, providing us with enough data to make an informed decision at a later stage in Enstone. Before lunch Davide completed performance runs as he became accustomed to the set up and quickly explored the limits of the car.
"Obviously the step from GP2 to Formula 1 is not enormous, but we were impressed with how quickly he was up to speed by this morning.
"For the afternoon session, we looked at developments of our front drums and then completed a tyre programme which gave Davide the opportunity to try out the various compounds. We ran the hard, medium and soft tyres and he found good improvements in terms of grip with each step in the compounds. All in all it's been a good day, and Davide did a great job."
As on Tuesday and Wednesday, McLaren had two driverson duty, Oliver Turvey in the morning and Kevin Magnussen in the afternoon.
Turvey continued the Woking team's evaluation of a new front wing, providing extremely useful feedback and data. In the afternoon, Magnussen returned to the cockpit, running through a series of mechanical balance changes aimed at unlocking tyre performance. The young Dane clocked sufficient mileage this week to be able to apply for an F1 Superlicence.
"This week's test in Abu Dhabi was extremely useful for the team," said Sam Michael, "Gary, Oliver and Kevin all drove with great discipline to enable us to gather a considerable amount of data, collectively racking up more than 1500km.
"In addition, all three days were trouble-free, which is a great testament to the ongoing resolve of our mechanics and engineers, many of whom have been away from home for several weeks, and who travel directly on to the USA for the final two races of the season. They are a credit to our team.
"Gary and Oliver are outstanding team players and continue to deliver strongly for us. In Kevin's case, his pace, consistency and engineering feedback were all excellent. Given his performance, he certainly didn't look like a guy who had never turned a wheel in a modern F1 car before the start of this week!"
At Sauber, Esteban Gutierrez added another 80 laps to his tally as the Swiss team brought its toital laps over the three days to 252.
"I think today's programme was very useful," said the Mexican. "Not only for me, but also for the team because we were able to test and analyse a lot of different things. I tried to give precise feedback over the day and in the end I was pushing a bit with the soft tyres, but I must admit I didn't manage to make use of the peak of the tyres' performance. Nevertheless I am very happy with how the two days of testing went and I want to thank the Sauber F1 Team for all its work."
"Day three of this test was also a very productive one, as we got all the work done," added Giampaolo Dall'Ara. "Overall we are very happy with the mileage we covered here in Abu Dhabi and also with the feedback from the two young drivers. Today Esteban started with some more aero evaluation. We were running on high fuel, did some set up work and brake tests. Over lunch we changed the front suspension to test some new items. For the afternoon session we then gave Esteban some fresh tyres - one set of hard, two medium and one set of the soft compound."
Having driven for Sauber on Tuesday, today Robert Frijns was on duty for Red Bull, the Dutch youngster taking over from Felix da Costa at the wheel of the RB8.