The first day of the official Young Driver Test in Abu Dhabi began today with British GP2 racer Sam Bird driving for the MERCEDES GP PETRONAS team. Sam completed 67 laps, covering 372 kms of the Yas Marina Circuit, which he knows well from his GP2 racing over the weekend.

Sam concentrated on acclimatising himself to the team’s MGP W01 car as he worked through a test programme which included aerodynamic and set-up direction work, providing consistently good feedback for the team. Sam will continue his programme tomorrow for the second and final day of the Young Driver Test.

Sam Bird: “We have had a really good first day of testing and worked through a lot of different things with the car to help the team’s programme here. We made some good progress on the set-up over the day and I have thoroughly enjoyed my first day working with the MERCEDES GP PETRONAS team. I’m looking forward to the second day tomorrow and seeing where we can make further improvements.”

Ross Brawn: “Sam drove very well today and the training that he has put in on our simulator at the factory recently really paid off as he was able to get to grips with the car quickly and understand all of our procedures right from the start. Sam provided strong feedback on the set-up direction and we should be able to achieve further performance work tomorrow and are confident that Sam will provide good results.”

TIMES (All timings are unofficial)

1. Daniel Ricciardo Red Bull 1:39.616 83
2. Oliver Turvey McLaren 1:40.725 85
3. Antonio de Costa Force India 1:41.381 77
4. Esteban Gutierrez Sauber 1:41.432 88
5. Dean Stoneman Williams 1:41.522 70
6. Mikhail Aleshin Renault 1:42.073 58
7. Jean Eric Vergne Toro Rosso 1:42.489 93
8. Paul di Resta Force India 1:42.736 28
9. Sam Bird MERCEDES GP PETRONAS 1:42.985 67
10. Jerome D’Ambrosio Virgin 1:43.518 36
11. Pastor Maldonado HRT 1:43.750 108
12. Jules Bianchi Ferrari 1:43.894 59
13. Rodolfo Gonzalez Lotus 1:44.924 83
14. Rio Haryanto Virgin 1:49.439 21

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