NOVEMBER 8, 2012

Valsecchi tops final day in Abu Dhabi

GP2 champion Davide Valsecchi set the quickest time of the Abu Dhabi Young Driver test's final day at Yas Marina in the race-winning Lotus E20. The 25-year-old Italian lapped just 0.02s slower than the quickest time of the week set by Dane Kevin Magussen in the McLaren on the opening day of the test.

Valsecchi's 1:42.677 compared with a 1:42.827 from Magnussen, who returned to the McLaren cockpit to share duties with Oliver Turvey.

Valsecchi concentrated on testing the Lotus DDRS system in the morning, before doing a tyre assessment programme in the afternoon, running two sets of Pirelli's hard, medium and soft compund tyres.

"All in all a good day and Davide did a great job," said Lotus race engineer Simon Rennie.

Turvey (1:43.603) tested a new front wing for McLaren, before Magnussen took over in the afternoon and ran through a number of balance changes aimed at unlocking tyre performance. He did sufficient mileage to qualify for an F1 Superlicence.

"His pace, consistency and engineering feedback were all excellent," said McLaren sporting director Sam Michael. "Given his performance, he certainly didn't look like a guy who had never turned a wheel before in a modern F1 car before the start of the week."

Estaban Gutierrez was third quickest in the Sauber (1:43.093). "I pushed a bit with the soft tyre but didn't manage to make use of the peak of the performance," the Mexican admitted.

Dutch Formula Renault 3.5 champion Robin Frijns (1:43.233) did 53 laps in Red Bull's RB8, having tested with Sauber earlier in the week.

Luiz Razia, running a fever, had a tough day in the Toro Rosso (1:45.286) but completed the programme, while Caterham's 21-year-old American test driver Alexander Rossi (1:46.485) did 86 laps, having last driven for the team in FP1 in Barcelona.

Rossi's day was ended prematurely by an oil leak. "I didn't get a chance to do performance runs," he explained, "and I'm sure that if I had, my lap times would been close to the race drivers."

The day brought to an end F1 testing for 2012.