Young driver test Day 1 – Jean-Eric Vergne leads

Vergne ended the first day on top

Vergne ended the first day on top

Jean-Eric Vergne set the pace on the first day of the young driver test in Abu Dhabi.

Jules Bianchi tested a strange aero device

Jules Bianchi tested a strange aero device

The 21-year-old, who recently tested for Toro Rosso and finished 2nd in this year’s Formula Renault 3.5 Series, set a time of 1:40.011 – 1.530 seconds slower than Sebastian Vettel’s pole position time last Saturday.

He was nearly a second faster than Ferrari test driver Jules Bianchi, who tested a ridiculous-looking aerodynamic device on the side of his car in the morning. Robert Wickens, driving for Renault, was another 1.3 seconds behind.

Fabio Lemer, the fastest driver of the day to never drive an F1 car before, was 4th for Sauber. McLaren shared their car between 30-year-old Gary Paffett and Oliver Turvey finishing 5th and 8th respectively.

GP2 driver Max Chilton (whose brother Tom drives in touring cars) was 6th for Force India. Valtteri Bottas finished in 7th in the Williams FW32.

Mercedes GP test driver Sam Bird was 9th, ahead of Rodolfo Gonzalez (Lotus) and Stefano Coletti (Toro Rosso – also another newcomer to an F1 car). Dani Clos was 12th for HRT.

The two slowest drivers of the day were both Virgin Racing drivers. Charles Pic – who is widely tipped to join the team next year – finished three tenths faster than Adrian Quaife-Hobbs.

Bottas was the only driver to suffer serious technical failure, losing several hours of running time due to a gearbox problem.

Times from day 1:

 1.  Jean-Eric Vergne     Red Bull-Renault      1:40.011   83
 2.  Jules Bianchi        Ferrari               1:40.960   85
 3.  Robert Wickens       Renault               1:42.217   78
 4.  Fabio Leimer         Sauber-Ferrari        1:42.331   67
 5.  Gary Paffett         McLaren-Mercedes      1:42.912   41
 6.  Max Chilton          Force India-Mercedes  1:43.016   81
 7.  Valtteri Bottas      Williams-Cosworth     1:43.118   71
 8.  Oliver Turvey        McLaren-Mercedes      1:43.502   35
 9.  Sam Bird             Mercedes GP           1:43.548   51
10.  Rodolfo Gonzalez     Lotus-Renault         1:44.022   87
11.  Stefano Coletti      Toro Rosso-Ferrari    1:45.278   87
12.  Dani Clos            HRT-Cosworth          1:45.329   68
13.  Charles Pic          Virgin-Cosworth       1:46.930   30
14.  Adrian Quaife-Hobbs  Virgin-Cosworth       1:47.292   32
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