Formula One: 2012 Abu Dhabi Young Drivers’ Test Recap

The final of this season’s three Young Drivers tests was held at the Yas Marina Circuit in Abu Dhabi last week. As you may recall, Young Drivers tests were held earlier in the year at Silverstone and Magny Cours. The remaining six teams to not put their prospective future drivers through their paces stayed in Abu Dhabi after the Grand Prix to hold the final in-season test of 2012.

Day 1 (November 6)

After having a fast car for the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix, it shouldn’t have been a surprise that McLaren topped the timesheets on the first day of the test. Surprisingly, it wasn’t McLaren’s experienced test driver Gary Paffett who was fastest. Instead, it was Kevin Magnussen, son of former F1 and Le Mans driver Jan Magnussen, making his F1 debut, who topped the chart after running only in the morning.

Antonio Felix da Costa, who finished 4th in this year’s Formula Renault 3.5 Series despite missing the first six races of the year, was second-fastest by less than seven-hundredths of a second. Gary Paffett ran the afternoon for McLaren and was 3rd. Fourth-fastest was Formula Renault 3.5 champion Robin Frijns who is in line for a Sauber contract but was also on the Red Bull roster for the test.

  1. Kevin Magnussen – McLaren-Mercedes – 1:42.651
  2. Antonio Felix da Costa – Red Bull-Renault – 1:42.717
  3. Gary Paffett – McLaren-Mercedes – 1:43.407
  4. Robin Frijns – Sauber-Ferrari – 1:43.775
  5. Nicolas Prost – Lotus-Renault – 1:44.194
  6. Luis Razia – Toro Rosso-Ferrari – 1:44.691
  7. Giedo van der Garde – Caterham-Renault – 1:45.936

Day 2 (November 7)

Antonio Felix da Costa moved up one spot on the charts on the second day of testing but was still three-hundredths of a second slower than Magnussen’s best from the first day. McLaren’s two official test drivers shared the car with full-time McLaren GT3 driver Oliver Turvey timing in 2nd and full-time Mercedes DTM driver scoring 5th. Lotus scored the 3rd fastest time with Edoardo Mortara who drives finished 5th in DTM with two wins for Audi. Esteban Gutierrez finished 4th and by doing so did nothing to quiet rumours that he will race for Sauber next year alongside Nico Hulkenberg.

  1. Antonio Felix da Costa – Red Bull-Renault – 1:42.679
  2. Oliver Turvey – McLaren-Mercedes – 1:43.176
  3. Edoardo Mortara – Lotus-Renault – 1:43.418
  4. Esteban Gutierrez – Sauber-Ferrari – 1:43.485
  5. Gary Paffett – McLaren-Mercedes – 1:43.771
  6. Johnny Cecotto Jr. – Toro Rosso-Ferrari – 1:44.569
  7. Giedo van der Garde – Caterham-Renault – 1:45.106

Day 3 (November 8)

Despite being on their third driver in as many days, Lotus continued their climb up the timesheets. Almost appropriately, they finished the final day of the test on top. Davide Valsecchi, 2012 GP2 champion, was fastest from Kevin Magnussen and Esteban Gutierrez. Valsecchi worked on double DRS and tyre development programs which may continue to make Lotus a formidable foe as the championship comes to a close.

  1. Davide Valsecchi – Lotus-Renault – 1:42.677
  2. Kevin Magnussen – McLaren-Mercedes – 1:42.827
  3. Esteban Gutierrez – Sauber-Ferrari – 1:43.093
  4. Robin Frijns – Red Bull-Renault – 1:43.233
  5. Oliver Turvey – McLaren-Mercedes – 1:43.604
  6. Luiz Razia – Toro Rosso-Ferrari – 1:45.286
  7. Alexander Rossi – Caterham-Renault – 1:46.485

Best Times of the Week

  1. Kevin Magnussen – McLaren-Mercedes – 1:42.651
  2. Davide Valsecchi – Lotus-Renault – 1:42.677
  3. Antonio Felix da Costa – Red Bull-Renault – 1:42.679
  4. Esteban Gutierrez – Sauber-Ferrari – 1:43.093
  5. Oliver Turvey – McLaren-Mercedes – 1:43.176
  6. Robin Frijns – Red Bull-Renault – 1:43.233
  7. Gary Paffett – McLaren-Mercedes – 1:43.407
  8. Edoardo Mortara – Lotus-Renault – 1:43.418
  9. Robin Frijns – Sauber-Ferrari – 1:43.775
  10. Nicolas Prost – Lotus-Renault – 1:44.194
  11. Johnny Cecotto Jr. – Toro Rosso-Ferrari – 1:44.569
  12. Luis Razia – Toro Rosso-Ferrari – 1:44.691
  13. Giedo van der Garde – Caterham-Renault – 1:45.106
  14. Alexander Rossi – Caterham-Renault – 1:46.485

Note: Robin Frijns is listed twice as he ran for both Red Bull and Sauber. His fastest time in each car is listed.

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