Infiniti Red Bull Racing’s final day at the Silverstone Young Driver Test again saw the team split its running, with GP3 and Renault 3.5 Series driver Carlos Sainz Jr at the wheel in the morning and F1 championship leader Sebastian Vettel on tyre-testing duty in the afternoon.
After driving for Scuderia Toro Rosso yesterday, Sainz Jr moved across to our garage today and in a busy schedule the young Spaniard worked his way through 35 laps of Silverstone.
“This has been an incredible opportunity,” he said afterwards. “It was not an easy day and the nerves were definitely there. In the end though, it all went smoothly and there were no major issues. I enjoyed the work and tried to do my best in terms of giving feedback to the team. It’s a big boost for my self-confidence, but I’m 18-years-old, still very young and still learning. There’s a long way to go.”
Sebastian Vettel then got his first taste of the new compound Pirelli tyres and afterwards said the new rubber had performed well.
“We had three days of testing with a lot of different drivers in a lot of different cars and no failures – in conditions that were hotter than the [British] grand prix – so that’s good,” he said. “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.”
Race Engineering Co-ordinator Andy Damerum added: “Because of the tyre test with Seb we probably had about 2.5 hours of running with Carlos in the morning, but we were very satisfied with the work we got through during that period. The team was impressed with his ability to adjust to the car, happy with his feedback and also with his pace. As for the afternoon, we were again locked into Pirelli’s programme and you can’t make any adjustments to the car, so while it wasn’t the best balance for Seb, he’s an expert at driving round these issues and we got a lot done, 79 laps; over 460km. It’s been a useful test and aside from some small problems, which you always get with a test car, we’ve had good reliability and good performance.”
Circuit length: 5.891km
Fastest lap: S. Vettel (1:32.894)
Driver (AM): Carlos Sainz Jr
Laps: 35 laps
Best time: 1:33.546
Driver (PM): Sebastian Vettel
Best time: 1:32.894