Jean-Eric Vergne, Abu Dhabi, 2011

Vergne completes third day on top in Abu Dhabi

2011 F1 testing

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Jean-Eric Vergne, Abu Dhabi, 2011
Jean-Eric Vergne, Abu Dhabi, 2011

Jean-Eric Vergne repeated Daniel Ricciardo’s 2010 feat of being fastest on every day of the young drivers test.

Vergne set a best time of 1’38.917 to head the final day of testing at the circuit.

Two other drivers who drove on all three days of the test occupied the top three: Sam Bird for Mercedes ahead of Jules Bianchi in the Ferrari.

Esteban Gutierrez caused a brief delay in the session after he went off the track in his Sauber.

DriverTeamTimeGap
Jean-Eric VergneRed Bull1’38.917
Sam BirdMercedes1’40.8971.980
Jules BianchiFerrari1’41.3472.430
Oliver TurveyMcLaren1’41.5132.596
Max ChiltonForce India1’41.5752.658
Esteban GutierrezSauber1’42.0493.132
Mirko BortolottiWilliams1’43.2774.360
Kevin CecconToro Rosso1’43.6864.769
Alexander RossiLotus1’44.2835.366
Jan CharouzRenault1’44.4705.553
Stefano ColettiToro Rosso1’44.5455.628
Nathanael BerthonHRT1’45.8396.922
Robert WickensVirgin1’45.9347.017
Charles PicVirgin1’46.3487.431

Combined test times

DriverTeam15th16th17thGapTotal laps
Jean-Eric VergneRed Bull1?40.0111?40.1881’38.917172
Jules BianchiFerrari1?40.9601?40.2791’41.3471.362282
Sam BirdMercedes1?43.5481?43.7341’40.8971.980251
Oliver TurveyMcLaren1?43.5021’41.5132.596124
Max ChiltonForce India1?43.0161’41.5752.658160
Gary PaffettMcLaren1?42.9121?41.7562.839112
Esteban GutierrezSauber1?43.6371’42.0493.132173
Robert WickensRenault1?42.2173.30078
Fabio LeimerSauber1?42.3313.41467
Valtteri BottasWilliams1?43.1181?42.3673.450159
Johnny Cecotto JnrForce India1?42.8733.95684
Mirko BortolottiWilliams1’43.2774.36074
Kevin CecconToro Rosso1?44.8081’43.6864.769132
Kevin KorjusRenault1?43.7764.85970
Luiz RaziaLotus1?43.9445.02789
Rodolfo GonzalezLotus1?44.0225.10587
Alexander RossiLotus1’44.2835.36674
Jan CharouzRenault1’44.4705.55382
Stefano ColettiToro Rosso1?45.2781’44.5455.628135
Dani ClosHRT1?45.3296.41268
Nathanael BerthonHRT1?48.6461’45.8396.92260
Robert WickensVirgin1’45.9347.01734
Charles PicVirgin1?46.9301?46.6981’46.3487.431140
Jan CharouzHRT1?46.6447.72756
Adrian Quaife-HobbesVirgin1?47.2928.37532

Jan Charouz and Robert Wickens drove more than one car during the test.

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Image ?? Red Bull/Getty images

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Keith Collantine
Lifelong motor sport fan Keith set up RaceFans in 2005 - when it was originally called F1 Fanatic. Having previously worked as a motoring...

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48 comments on “Vergne completes third day on top in Abu Dhabi”

  1. Thanks for the twitter feed and the live blog Keith, it was nice to keep a tap on it.

    The times probably don’t mean a lot, with Williams and Mercedes testing the effect of 2012 exhausts, Ferrari even having a special exhaust at one side that goes out around the rear tire to measure the difference in airflow, etc.

    Seems a lot of things are being tested, actually I would say it might be a good idea to have each team test “young guns” in every 5th day of pre season testing, if only to give everyone a chance to be there. Its not as if it matters a lot for the early phases of testing, where its about data gathering and reliablity.

  2. Jacques from France
    17th November 2011, 13:24

    Hello Keith,
    Might be good for the fans if you could draw a table showing the complete three days testing sorted by team and drivers. This will enable us to see exactly how those “payable” rookies are performing to each other.
    Even though we fully realise that cars setup might have been different from time to time.
    Jacques

  3. I think the driver who has surprised me the most this week is Nathanael Berthon. I was watching Keven Korjus and Robert Wickens, but I think Berthon’s performance in the Hispania is far mroe impressive than some of his previous results suggest.

    1. That’s still 7 seconds off the pace of Vergne.

      In the end, we really don’t know, all the teams are doing different things, so hopefully we get some inside info from people within the paddock.

      1. But only seven tenths of a second off the pace of Tonio Liuzzi in qualifying. Considering that Berthon only had the car for nine laps yesterday and no existing relationship with a team (the way Vergne does), I think he’s done a pretty admitable job.

        1. Clos was 0.5 faster than him though, but in just 9 laps, that is impressive.

  4. Keith, did Jan Charouz drive the Renault or the HRT (in the latter case, his time would be impressive)?

    1. He was in the Renault – forgot he’d switched cars. Have updated the table.

  5. It would be wrong to make assumptions but does Vergne’s time not show just how much of an advantage the Red Bull has locked up in it.

    I can’t help but wonder how Vettel will cope in a ‘normal’ car

    1. my thoughts exactly

      OFC it depends on the young drivers, but more than a sec better than the other cars…, that is the reason why i can’t be bothered with Vettel, and with the he is the best talk… He only needs to get in the car, and not bump into someone to be world champion, when alonso and hamilton drive off the wheels of their car, only to be a few tenths behind mr vettel.
      Like in Barcelona, Alonso said he had made a magnificent perfect lap, only to be 1.2s or something behind vettel, who locked up on his pole lap. Not realy a fair sport is it, and this guy is a double world champion

      Yeah, and MSC didn’t get a car like that for present, he built ferrari for several years, and even before that, that renault wasn’t multiple seconds ahead of the field. 14 poles, and he is proud of it….

    2. @mcgregski – He’d cope just fine, considering his 07-09 results.

      @lsl1337 – Every champion had the best car when they won their championships, including the two drivers you mention above, who had more reliable machinery than their competitors. Of course F1 is fair.

      These times aren’t even fully representative of the pace of these cars. Unless you believe the Mercedes is faster than the Mclaren, or the Renault is genuinely slower than the Lotus.

      1. having a car, which is on some tracks a few tenths up, on some a few down, (clearly i’m not talking about 2002,2004 Ferrari) it’s not in the ballpark what Vettel has right now. 14 poles, when was that last?, ohh right, Mansell Williams, that car was a little bit ahead if the grid, wasn’t it?

        1. @lsl1337 – The qualifying margins aren’t anything like what they were in 1992. As I said, every champion had pretty much the best machine when they won the championship and won by approximately the margins the car was capable of. Vettel is no different.

          1. and the points margin is kind of like 92?

          2. @lsl1337 – The points margin is similar, but the qualifying margins aren’t, which is what you were suggesting in your earlier post.

        2. The Williams FW14B regularly enjoyed an advantage of a second per lap in qualifying. On three occasions a Williams driver was on pole by over 2 seconds from the fastest non-Williams. At Silverstone, Mansell was 2.741 seconds faster than Senna’s McLaren.

          The biggest advantage enjoyed by Red Bull in 2011 was 0.980 seconds in Spain, but it was generally no more than about half a second.

          1. ohh i see, half a second on every lap is not dominant enough in these days, where most team have 90+% reliability

          2. @lsl1337 – Considering the amount of times it has been less than that, (with one RB7 often off the front row), it hasn’t been “dominant” to the extent that Vettel hasn’t had to push.

          3. Half a second per lap in qualifying – the RB7 hasn’t had nearly such an advantage in race trim. I quoted qualifying times because they’re easier to compare like for like. The point being that RB7 was not nearly as superior as FW14B, even in the part of the race weekend where it is relatively strongest.

      2. what about 2005/2006 seasons does alonso has the best car??

        1. Yes, since it had superior reliability. Determining the best car comes down to speed AND reliability. Renault’s competitors were as fast, or slightly faster, but less reliable (especially Mclaren in 2005).

    3. It would be wrong to make assumptions but does Vergne’s time not show just how much of an advantage the Red Bull has locked up in it.

      Not really. Vergne is a quick young driver who knows the team and has had plenty of mileage at the test.

      The RB7 is clearly a good car and has had an edge over the rest of the field in 2011, but it hasn’t been so superior as to be dominant. Its biggest advantage has been in qualifying trim and even then it has rarely been in front by miles. The McLaren MP4/4, Williams FW14B and the 2002 and 2004 Ferraris all enjoyed a much greater advantage over the rest than the RB7 does.

      We have a fairly good idea of how Vettel would cope in a “normal” car – he scored points on his debut in a BMW Sauber, took some good results and an unlikely victory in a Toro Rosso and won several races in the 2009 Red Bull. I’m not his biggest fan but the boy can clearly drive in cars which are not the class of the field.

      1. he can put in a second a lap quicker times when he suddenly needs them (first part of stints) , he has his little gap, after that he just manages it, and he can afford to let the others close by the end, 5 seconds, 45 seconds, same points, he is just trying to be easy on the car. RB 6-7 fits right in your dominant cars line up

        1. Yet Mark Webber, who isn’t seen as a slouch in the F1 paddock never does the same. No, @timg was correct about the RB7 being “superior”, but not F2004 style “dominant”.

          1. So the Double World Champions only comparison is M Webber?

          2. The easiest comparison is Webber. But everyone else can still shine in their cars, and the only person to shine like Vettel has in his machinery is Alonso.

    4. I think Vergne is better than Ricciardo, but I remember Ricciardo having a greater advantage last year in the tests.

      1. And Wickens better then Vergne, I still don’t get why Redbull isn’t fully backing Wickens anymore?

        1. Maybe it was because of this:

          Wickens, who won the Formula BMW USA title in 2006 and has also won races in both the Champ Car Atlantic Series and A1GP, is currently a member of the Red Bull Young Driver scheme but could lose his backing at the end of the year.

          That would make it more difficult for the Canadian to make the break-through into F1 having been overlooked by Red Bull for the upcoming F1 tests at Jerez. British F3 title winner Daniel Ricciardo, F2 racer Mirko Bortolotti and Brendon Hartley have all be called up by Red Bull for the test – the latter two running with Toro Rosso.

          Wickens’ will head in to 2010 as the only driver from North America to hold a valid FIA superlicence which could make him a possible option for USF1 if it wishes to run a North American driver, although he admitted that a lack of sponsorship was likely to work against him.

          If he was talking with other F1, cant think that Helmut Marko will like that… or maybe he asked to be realesed…

      2. @fixy even Newey had said that last year RBR was faster that the RB7…

    5. Vergne’s times are perfect for those who simply cannot swallow that Vettel is currently the best driver in the field. You don’t luck into two world championships. I’ll take solace in the fact that you must be finding his success and domination really hard to swallow.

  6. I know teams are testing different things at the moment, and the cars are a little different from how they were on the Race Weekend, but surely it’s telling that Vergne’s time today was less than half a tenth off Mark Webber’s best effort in Qualifying?

    1. I wouldn’t read anything into it. We don’t know what Red Bull were testing, what tyres he was on or even if the car was in race-legal trim. We do know the track’s got an extra three days of rubber on it which will have helped lap times.

      1. Also the time the lap was made. The test was during daytime, while qualifying was at noon/night.

  7. Jacques from France
    17th November 2011, 14:11

    Great stuff Keith
    Merci

  8. I’ve been keeping an eye on the Lotus as a benchmark. Over 5s behind the pace and yesterday it was around the 3s mark.

    I wish it was more exciting and we could draw proper conclusion from it :D

    Thanks for keeping us in the loop, @keithcollantine

  9. See how fast the red bull is guys?

    I think Alonso, Button and Hamilton have worked wonders to qualify so close to that car!

    1. It is fast, but these times aren’t fully representative of the pace of the cars, i.e. the Mclaren and Ferrari aren’t slower than Mercedes.

      1. always trying to prove something !!!!!

        1. @tifoso1989 – Always trying to prove what? Agreeing that the RB7 is the fastest but pointing out that not every driver was on the same program?

      2. In absolute time… a test driver comes pretty close to a 2xwdc. Shows the car is very balanced and easy to drive.
        The temperature and time of day was different, but the fastest day times from the GP compare well to the testing times.

  10. I think Bianchi and Bird doing test driver role while Red Bull is really measuring potential of Vergne. of course Red Bull attached some sensor and probably experimental parts but it looks like it’s not top priority.

    1. +1
      Ferrari were happy about Bianchi’s role in the testing because he was able to complete the entire program test set by the engineers (aerodynamic,tyres,engine) +the fact that he was consistent

  11. @ Keith, any idea what tyres were used? Would FIA publish them?

  12. That is interesting, young Vergne nearly gets to Vettels qualifying time of 1:38.481. Is it the car or the driver:)

    1. Vettel’s time was set at night, with cooler (read:slower) track conditions.

  13. ”The Young Driver Tests also saw the debut of Pirelli’s 2012 tyre compounds, with all bar one of the tyre compounds used in 2011 having undergone significant revisions. Several teams, including Williams and Mercedes used the tests as an opportunity to test parts for the 2012 season in the face of a ban on exhaust-blown diffusers.” quote from onother site

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