Mirko Bortolotti

Recently crowned FIA Formula Two champion Mirko Bortolotti was seventh fastest at the end of his prize Williams F1 test after taking part in the Formula One young driver programme at Abu Dhabi today (17 November).

After spending the morning session evaluating new aero parts and collecting vital data for the team, the 21-year-old recorded a best time of 1:43.277s in the afternoon, just one tenth shy of Valtteri Bottas’ best time from his first day. Bottas is Williams’ regular test and reserve driver and has conducted a number of straight-line tests for the team this year.

In the closing stages, Bortolotti’s final run was interrupted by a late red flag caused by Sauber’s Esteban Gutierrez spinning at Turn 3. He nevertheless ended the day seventh overall, four tenths faster than STR returnee Kevin Ceccon, and against a very strong field, with the majority enjoying their second or third day of F1 testing at the Yas Marina circuit.

Speaking afterwards Bortolotti, who secured the test as part of his prize for winning the 2011 F2 title, said: “Everything was new for me today; the car and the track, so there was a lot to learn. The team had several objectives this morning so I wasn’t just focusing on lap time but on getting that work done for Williams’ 2012 preparations. We completed that and then moved on to finding performance this afternoon. It has been a really interesting day for me. I have really enjoyed being here with AT&T Williams and I am very happy with the job that we did.”

Tom McCullough, Williams F1 Race Engineer, added: “It has been an excellent final day with Mirko Bortolotti. He did a really good job, improving on each run and iterating down to some good lap times. Overall, he gave excellent feedback, was consistent and is clearly physically fit. We have now completed our three day test and have lots of useful information to take away. The factory have done a great job this week in getting lots of test items out here in order to help our understanding of the FW34 and we can now return to the factory and analyse the data in order to develop the FW34.”

Red Bull’s Jean-Eric Vergne secured the overall honours for the third consecutive day with Sam Bird second for Mercedes and Ferrari’s Jules Bianchi third.

Formula One test times, Yas Marina circuit, 17 November 2011:

1.  Jean-Eric Vergne, Red Bull-Renault, 1m38.917s
2.  Sam Bird, Mercedes GP, 1m40.897s
3.  Jules Bianchi, Ferrari, 1m41.347s
4.  Oliver Turvey, McLaren-Mercedes, 1m41.513s
5.  Max Chilton, Force India-Mercedes, 1m41.575s
6.  Esteban Gutierrez, Sauber-Ferrari, 1m42.049s
7.  Mirko Bortolotti, Williams-Cosworth, 1m43.277s
8.  Kevin Ceccon, Toro Rosso-Ferrari, 1m43.686s
9.  Alexander Rossi, Lotus-Renault, 1m44.283s
10.  Jan Charouz, HRT-Cosworth, 1m44.470s
11.  Stefano Coletti, Toro Rosso-Ferrari, 1m44.545s
12.  Nathanael Berthon, HRT-Cosworth, 1m45.839s
13.  Robert Wickens, Virgin-Cosworth, 1m45.934s
14.  Charles Pic, Virgin-Cosworth, 1m46.348s