Silverstone Test Day 3: Vettel tops as Susie Wolff impresses on final day

Sebastian Vettel fastest of all on the final day of testing at Silverstone
Sebastian Vettel fastest of all on the final day of testing at Silverstone

It was no big surprise when Red Bull’s world champion Sebastian Vettel topped the timing sheets on the final day of the Young Drivers Test at Silverstone, but the performance of Susie Wolff – on duty for Williams – turned out to be one of the highlights of the day.

The last time Wolff raced was in the DTM series in 2012, since then her appearances in a race car have been infrequent, but that was no deterrent as she powered around the grand prix circuit in a time of 1:35.093 – under a second slower than the team’s regular driver Pastor Maldonado and o.462 seconds down on young driver Daniel Juncadella – the pair having tested on the previous two days.

Wolff completed 78 laps during the course of the final day and ended the day ninth fastest. She summed up her day: The team did a great job getting me through the day, talking me through everything step by step. In hindsight it would have been good to run the new tyres later in the day after I’d had more time in the car as I don’t think I got the best out of the medium tyres.”

“Physically it wasn’t easy, but it was what I was expecting. I was well prepared so it was completely manageable.  My only problem was my seat as I was moving around a little. Doing the pitstops this afternoon was also really beneficial as there is a lot to think about coming into the stops. It was a fantastic experience,” added Wolff.

Susie Wolff Williams FW35
Susie Wolff Williams FW35

Vettel got down to the business of evaluating the new Pirelli tyres and in the process setting the fastest time of the entire test with his best lap of 1:32.894, and racked up an impressive 79 laps during his afternoon stint in the cockpit of the RB9.

The world champions said afterwards,  “Obviously, we were very limited on what we could do, but for me there is not that much difference with the tyres. It was good to get in some laps though, good to get a feeling for them and it’s always nice to drive at Silverstone.”

Force India’s Adrian Sutil set the early pace in the morning, and went slightly faster during a flurry of quick laps in the afternoon to claim second place on the timing sheets, with 99 laps notched up in the process – more than any of his rivals on the day.

On duty for Lotus for a second day was Nicolas Prost who was third fastest with 82 laps on the board.

Despite Wolff stealing the show on Friday, again it was 18 year old Carlos Sainz Junior who impressed the most of all the young guns in action. This time the young Spaniard, son of the rally legend, was on duty for Red Bull and after 35 laps was second fastest  in the morning, after which he was pulled in to handover the car to Vettel.

Carlos Sainz Jr Red Bull Racing RB9
Carlos Sainz Jr Red Bull Racing RB9

At the end of the day young Sainz’s best time was good for fourth place on the final timing sheets. He was 0.652 seconds down on Vettel’s best of the day, and only 0.361 off Daniel Ricciardo’s a day earlier. Not bad for the kid who drove a Formula 1 car for the first time just 24 hours earlier.

Felipe Massa was on duty for Ferrari in the morning session, completing 69 laps before handing over to Davide Rigon for the afternoon. The pair were sixth and fifth respectively.

Up next was Jean Eric Vergne in the Ferrari powered Toro Rosso, he was seventh fastest, but notably well over  half a second down on fellow Red Bull race seat candidate Daniel Ricciardo’s best in the same car a day earlier.

Not fair to judge the Frenchman as the exact specs of his run, compared to his teammate, only the team know. Whatever the case, the perception at the moment is that Ricciardo has the upper-hand in their internal strife for Mark Webber’s hot seat. However it is still Vergne who leads Ricciardo in the world championship standings…

Pit stop practice for Gary Paffett in the McLaren MP4-28
Pit stop practice for Gary Paffett in the McLaren MP4-28

DTM champion Gary Paffett got a full day in the cockpit of the McLaren MP4-28, managing 62 laps and the eighth fastest time of the day.

On duty for Caterham were regular drivers Giedo van der Garde and Charles Pic, the pair ending 10th and 12th respectively with 145 laps to their credit.

Russian 19 year old Daniil Kvyat got his first taste of Formula 1 with a morning stint in the Toro Rosso. He did 22 laps on his way to setting the 12 fastest time. He lost time when he beached it in the gravel, after the back end sought to overtake the front end of his STR8.

Also making his F1 debut was Kimiya Sato driving for Sauber the entire day. He was 13th fastest with 60 laps completed.

Kimiya Sato Sauber C32
Kimiya Sato Sauber C32

Rodolfo Gonzalez was on duty again for Marussia in the morning, with Jules Bianchi on duty for the afternoon shift. The pair ended the day 14th and 16th respectively. They were split by James Calado who did a late afternoon cameo for Force India.

The Formula 1 circus now moves to Hungary for the next episode of the 2013 world championship. (GP247)

Subbed by AJN.

Silverstone Young Drivers Test, Day 3 – Friday, 19 July 2013

1. Sebastian Vettel Red Bull 1m32.894s 79
2. Adrian Sutil Force India-Mercedes 1m33.242s +0.348s 99
3. Nicolas Prost Lotus-Renault 1m33.256s +0.362s 83
4. Carlos Sainz Jr Red Bull-Renault 1m33.546s +0.652s 35
5. Davide Rigon Ferrari 1m33.592s +0.698s 20
6. Felipe Massa Ferrari 1m33.624s +0.730s 69
7. Jean-Eric Vergne Toro Rosso-Ferrari 1m33.647s +0.753s 42
8. Gary Paffett McLaren-Mercedes 1m34.294s +1.400s 77
9. Susie Wolff Williams-Renault 1m35.093s +2.199s 89
10. Giedo van der Garde Caterham-Renault 1m35.155s +2.261s 85
11. Daniil Kvyat Toro Rosso-Ferrari 1m35.281s +2.387s 22
12. Charles Pic Caterham-Renault 1m35.576s +2.682s 60
13. Kimiya Sato Sauber-Ferrari 1m35.642s +2.748s 67
14. Rodolfo Gonzalez Marussia-Cosworth 1m36.339s +3.445s 24
15. James Calado Force India-Mercedes 1m36.451s +3.557s 5
16. Jules Bianchi Marussia-Cosworth 1m36.744s +3.850s 39