Kevin Magnussen claimed top spot on the timesheet of the opening day of the Silverstone Young Driver Test, the Dane driver lapping in 1:33.602 for McLaren. Regular Force India race driver Paul Di Resta was second, while Red Bull Racing’s António Félix da Costa ended the day in third place.
The morning pace was set by James Calado driving for Force India, the Briton finishing ahead of Da Costa, with whom he traded fastest times for most of the opening period.
After his morning’s work Calado said: “Getting to drive a Formula One car was a lifetime ambition and even coming to the track this morning was quite emotional. It was a completely different experience from what I am used to in GP2 but it took only a few laps to get a hold of it.”
Third place in the morning went to Sauber test and reserve driver Robin Frijns, though the Dutchman didn’t get much time to establish himself, with the Swiss team only sending him out on track two hours into the session.
In the afternoon, Magnussen, son of former McLaren and Stewart Grand Prix driver Jan, progressed steadily from the bottom of the morning pack towards the top of the timesheet and when he took on a set of medium Pirelli tyres late in the session he set a time of 1:33.602, which remained unchallenged until the flag.
“This is the first time I’ve driven at Silverstone in a Formula One car, and it was a fantastic experience,” said Magnussen. “We covered a lot of mileage – almost two race distances – and, given there isn’t a great deal of testing these days, that opportunity was invaluable. Getting a taste in the car only makes me more hungry to one day realise my ambition of racing in the highest level of motorsport.”
Di Resta, who took over from Calado, came closest with a lap just under two tenths slower than Magnussen. Da Costa, who spent much of the afternoon focused on long runs, only had a brief look at a quick lap but his effort netted him third place, 0.219 adrift of the McLaren driver.
Da Costa had been due to hand over to Daniel Ricciardo in the afternoon but in a change to the team’s schedule Ricciardo will now drive tomorrow afternoon, replacing Mark Webber, who will not now take part in the test. Thus the Portuguese driver found himself at the wheel of the team’s RB9 for the whole day, a task he relished.
“It was nice to get the full day’s running, especially here,” he said. “If there’s a circuit where you really feel that you’re in an F1 car it’s here at Silverstone, with all these fast corners. It something completely different and something you have to get used to but it was a great day, a great feeling.
Calado’s morning time of 1:33.986 kept him in fourth place, while Mercedes DTM driver Daniel Juncadella claimed the fifth-fastest time. Arden International GP2 driver Johnny Cecotto was sixth for Toro Rosso. Sauber test and reserve driver Robin Frijns finished the day in seventh place, followed by Lotus’ Nicolas Prost, who will get a second outing on Friday as Kimi Raikkonen will not now test.
The day’s timesheet was completed by Davide Rigon for Ferrari, Caterham’s Alexander Rossi and the Marussia pairing of Tio Ellinas and Max Chilton. (FIA Media)
Silverstone Young Drivers Test, Day 1 – Wednesday, 17 July 2013
Pos 1. 2. 3. 4. 5. 6. 7. 8. 9. 10. 11. 12.
Driver Kevin Magnussen Paul di Resta Antonio Felix da Costa James Calado Daniel Juncadella Johnny Cecotto Robin Frijns Nicolas Prost Davide Rigon Alexander Rossi Tio Ellinas Max Chilton
Team McLaren Force India Red Bull Force India Williams Toro Rosso Sauber Lotus Ferrari Caterham Marussia Marussia