Bottas fastest as Ma Qing Hua makes debut

2012 F1 testing

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Williams test driver Valtteri Bottas was quickest in the first of two days’ testing at Silverstone involving three teams.

Following disagreement between the teams over where and when the Young Drivers’ Test should take place, Williams, HRT and Marussia arranged their testing to take place today and tomorrow.

Following a rainy British Grand Prix weekend Silverstone remained dry for much of today’s running, with some rain falling in the final hour.

Bottas was easily quicker of the four drivers present. At HRT Chinese driver Ma Qing Hua had his first run in the F112.

“It was a fantastic feeling to drive a Formula 1 car for the first time,” he said afterwards. “It’s not easy to put into words what I felt.”

“Yesterday I found it hard to sleep and I tried to calm down by thinking that it was just another test. I think we did a good job and everything went according to plan, with good weather too.

“By being here during the Grand Prix, I learned a lot from my team mates and also to work as a team, as it is very important to give the right information to the engineers in order to optimise the performance of the car.”

He wept on his return to the garage after becoming the first Chinese-born driver to have an F1 test. Chinese driver Ho-Pin Tung, who tested for Williams in 2003, was born in the Netherlands.

Marussia ran GP2 duo Max Chilton and Rio Haryanto. Chilton ran in the morning and came to a stop with an engine problem, bringing out the day’s only red flag. Haryanto took over but only logged 19 laps before a leak on his car ended his day.

Today’s test took place on the full Silverstone Grand Prix circuit. Tomorrow’s running will take place on the shorter International circuit.

139Valtteri BottasWilliams FW341’31.436120
242Max ChiltonMarussia MR011’36.55834
362Rio HaryantoMarussia MR011’37.40419
441Ma Qing HuaHRT F1121’37.82982

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Image © HRT F1 Team

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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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25 comments on “Bottas fastest as Ma Qing Hua makes debut”

  1. Bottas continues to impress me… The Finnish do not produce many drivers, but when they do, they’re complete class. I do wonder how long it will be before the young Finn gets himself into a Formula One race seat…

    1. Either when they run out of patience with Senna or Maldonado runs out of cash.

      1. i think he will replace senna next year maldonado has too much money!

        1. And is a race winner. And is demolishing his teammate.

          1. There’s no way Williams is replacing Maldonado, I have explained this all too often.
            1. Maldonado is a race winner, Williams’s first one since Montoya.
            2. Pastor has unquestionable speed, it’s only a matter if he can iron out his mistakes.
            3. He’s much quicker than Bruno and a much better driver.
            4. He brings $45,000,000 in sponsorship money from Venezuela. Nuff’ said.

          2. And is a race winner. And is demolishing his teammate.

            He actually isn’t.

            In qualifying he is, However in the races Senna has actually been consistently faster than Maldonado. Also Senna has scored more points than Maldonado since the Spanish Gp (Maldonado hasn’t scored any points since then).

          3. He’s much quicker than Bruno and a much better driver.

            i don’t necisarily agree for 2 reasons.

            pastor keeps making dumb mistakes, collides with other drivers regularly, has intentionally swerved into other drivers & has for the most part been slower than bruno in races recently.

            and secondly, bruno won races & finished 2nd in the gp2 championship when the gp2 field was much stronger than when pastor won it.
            also bruno beat several drivers in gp2 championship that pastor did not.

            bruno’s biggest problem is qualifying, he has a smoother driving style & the williams is easier on its tyres so he struggles to get heat into the front tyres on a single lap. pastor is much more aggressive & gets heat into the tyres much quicker which aids him in qualifying.
            when it gets to long stint race pace, bruno has been right there, often quicker than pastor, especially over the last 3-4 races. in british gp he was consistently 5 tenths+ faster than pastor throughout the entire race.

            if bruno can improve qualifying & keep the race pace, he’ll be scoring points regularly & i would place a bet on him been ahead of pastor in the drivers championship at the end of the year.

            for the record. i not necisarily a fan of bruno & i do not dislike pastor. i just look at all the data, analysing it to get the full picture on everyone’s overall performances.

          4. Every time at post-race interview when they talk to Bruno about decent race and points, I have no idea what they talking about.

            Free-practice, Qualifying or Race he is getting destroyed by Pastor. Yes Pastor got his own issues that better be fixed soon, but driving wise he is untouchable compare to Senna.

            I hope Bruno will have a good second part of the season and show the teams what he got all the speed, so far I’m far from impressed.

          5. Free-practice, Qualifying or Race he is getting destroyed by Pastor.

            not true, bruno has been faster than pastor in race pace for the past races.

            look at silverstone, pastor was never within half second of bruno’s pace.
            even at valencia, bruno was a few tenths quicker all race.

            when you look at all data, lap times, lap charts, race consistency & so on, bruno is nearly always better than pastor in all these areas.

            pastor is better in qualifying & by a decent margin, however in race pace its bruno who better. go look lap times through race & you see this be correct.

            also consider that bruno always lose the 1st practice so always starts the weekend a bit behind. even mr di resta complained missing the 1st session hurts his preperation & let to some poor races.

          6. I dislike Pastor – a lot. He has done some absolutely stupid things in his year and a half in F1 – what he did to lewis at Spa last year was inexcuseable, and I don’t really like Lewis very much either. However he may be F1’s answer to an orc with braces, but he is also fast. He held off Alonso to win in Spain. Sure i dislike him but once the very rough edges have been ironed out he will be devastatingly quick.

            Senna is doing OK but would he be in F1 if his name was John Smith?

          7. @James_G and Steve_LWA, thank you for pointing these things out. Not news to me, but apparently it is to some.

            I would also add that, based on what I’ve seen so far, Senna seems to keep the life in his tires (across just about all the compounds) better than Maldonado, though on a couple of occasions the team has still opted to keep him out a bit longer than was probably wise. In Silverstone he managed to do this despite both attacking Hulkenberg and defending from Button, continuing to set personal best sectors up to the very end.

    2. I wish they’d let Bottas race something, like Renault 3.5 or GP2. Surely there’s more risk of him getting caught up in accidents in F1 next year if he’s had a year away from wheel-to-wheel action, and only GP3 experience to fall back on.

      But 1:31.4 is an impressive lap time by any standards, particularly if (as I’ve read elsewhere) he was working on long runs rather than going for times. Top 5 on last year’s grid and way better than anything this year.

      1. @bullfrog – Bottas is driving Senna’s car in fifteen Friday practice (FP1) sessions this year. And he’ll be present in the garage at the other five. He’s getting hands-on experience of a Formula 1 car at most of the circuits on the calendar, which is better than trundling around in GP2 or Formula Renault.

        In fact, it would probably be impossible to find a racing programme for him to run alongside his Friday sessions. GP2 is out of the question, because GP2 rules prohibit anyone who takes part in any session of a Grand Prix weekend from participating in the GP2 events. And while Formula Renault doesn’t clash with any Grands Prix, it would be a lot to ask of Bottas to do both – for instance, he’d be doing Valencia for Williams one week, then racing at the Nurbrugring in Formula Renault then next, then driving at Silverstone in the third week, he’d be in Moscow this weekend to race, then Hockenheim next week and Budapest the weekd after. Most drivers get a two-week break; Bottas would have a full program for six weeks non-stop. It’s just too much.

  2. Ho Pin Tung is from the village where I live. I once had a fysiotherapist who trained Ho Pin. They used an old scooter helmet with screws in it to help him train his neck.

    Nice that Ma Qing Hua got so emotional! A Chinese driver would be fantastic for the sport!

    1. Nice that Ma Qing Hua got so emotional! A Chinese driver would be fantastic for the sport!

      I think it’s inevitable that a Chinese driver will enter the sport, but it’s only fantastic if he (or she) is competitive.

      It wouldn’t surprise me if HRT want Ma for 2013 because they have Chinese investors lined up, but they want a Chinese driver first.

  3. He’s made that number 62 car his own!
    Does this mean Marussia now have a reserve driver?

    1. No – you’ll note that Chilton is number 42 while Haryanto is 62. The reason for this is because teams often run multiple drivers in test sessions, and assigning each one a new number is the easiest way to distingush them on timing sheets (having multiple drivers with the same number can cause a few issues).

      The numbers 1-12 and 14-25 are used by the actual racing cars, while test cars are assigned new numbers, starting with the numbers 31-42. If a team has a second driver at a test session – like Marussia – then the numbering starts over again, this time from 51. And so on, and so forth. These are the teams and the numbers they are assigned:

      Red Bull – 1, 2, 31, 51, 71, 91
      McLaren – 3, 4, 32, 52, 72, 92
      Ferrari – 5, 6, 33, 53, 73, 93
      Mercedes – 7, 8, 34, 54, 74, 94
      Lotus – 9, 10, 35, 55, 75, 95
      Force India – 11, 12, 36, 56, 76, 96
      Sauber – 14, 15, 37, 57, 77, 97
      Toro Rosso – 16, 17, 38, 58, 78, 98
      Williams – 18, 19, 39, 59, 79, 99
      Caterham – 20, 21, 40, 60, 80, 100
      HRT – 22, 23, 41, 61, 81, 101
      Marussia – 24, 25, 42, 62, 82, 102

      The numbers 26-30, 43-50, 63-70 and 83-90 aren’t used because the Concorde Agreement allows for more than twelve teams. There is a thirteenth slot that is currently vacant, and in 2010, Bernie and the FIA were pushing for a fourteenth team when BMW Sauber was going to be funded by QADBAK (but then QADBAK fell apart, USF1 failed to be ready on time and Toyota withdrew anyway, allowing for Sauber to enter whilst still keeping twelve teams).

      Furthermore, I don’t know what happens if Caterham, HRT and Marussia chose to run a fourth driver. They’d have the numbers 100, 101 and 102, but this can wreak havoc on the timing sheets – it was something of a trend for V8 Supercars to have a ‘triple number’ (like 888), but then the series was recognised as an international championship by the FIA and they said they would not allow any more cars with triple numbers. It’s possible, but the FIA like to avoid it if and when they can.

  4. Very happy for Ma. He wasn’t exactly far off from Haryanto’s time either, which is very impressive.

    1. Though Haryanto didn’t get any proper running really.
      But I agree, he seems to have done a reasonable job for someone with no notable lower-series sucess.

    2. @pamphlet – I wouldn’t be surprised if we see both Ma and Haryanto in the car by the end of the year. Their times are actually pretty comparable to what the team’s regular drivers were doing in last weekend’s race, although the circuit was probably a lot drier – Bottas was three seconds quicker than Raikkonen, who set the fastest lap in the British Grand Prix.

      I’ve actually heard that HRT won’t be running at all today. Ma did enough to qualify for a superlicence, which was the point of the entire test; having fulfilled that condition, there is no real need to run today, especially since it’s a shorter circuit. I don’t know how long it would take the FIA to process an application for a superlicence – I can’t imagine Ma would have one in time for Hockenheim – but I expect he will run some time in the near future. Pictures from the test show the F112 covered in new sponsors, most of which are from China, so I’m guessing Ma could even replace one of the team’s regular drivers (probably Karthikeyan) in a race before the end of the year.

      As for Haryanto, I think Marussia are eyeing him off for a 2014 drive. The team really need to have some consistency in their driver line-up, because if they replace Pic for 2013, then whoever replaces him will be the fourth driver in that seat in as many years. John Booth says the team is very happy with Pic, so I don’t think there is any danger of him losing his seat. But I’m guessing the team will give Haryanto a few outings late this year and maybe take him on full-time as test driver in 2013.

  5. I expect Mark Webbers grandmother could test faster in a Williams than anyone in the other cars.

    1. A disturbing picture of internal organs after such test flashed in my mind.

  6. Chris (@tophercheese21)
    13th July 2012, 3:35

    No real surprise that Bottas is fastest considering his only competition are Marussia and HRT.

    1. True, but worth noting the actual time, which I believe was significantly faster than any time set during all of the dry running (granted, not that much of that) at the race.

      1. Pretty much. The gap is bigger from this test. Wonder how everyone would fair up if they had 120 laps.

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