ABU DHABI TEST – Fernando Alonso fastest by two tenths in ‘young’ driver test ahead of Mercedes

Testing & Race Reports

Fernando Alonso was fastest during the Abu Dhabi test on his return to Renault. The two times champion set a 36.3 during his qualifying simulation as the sunset, which was faster than what its race drivers achieved over the weekend.

Alonso’s participation along with several other drivers in what officially was a ‘young driver test’ was controversial given his experience in F1. But Renault had lobbied the governing body to allow him to take part, his time put him ahead of both the Mercedes Formula E drivers of Nyck de Vries and Stoffel Vandoorne.

Alonso managed over a hundred laps around Yas Marina. He told reporters “I’ve been testing the 2018 car in preparation but this one felt a bit more serious and it ignited a little bit the competitive spirit. It was great to feel the modern cars and experience what they can do.”

“We signed off lots of basic things we did in preparation at the factory like seat fitting, pedal position and so on, which is beneficial with only one and a half days of winter testing next year.

De Vries was two and a half tenths off the pace of the Spaniard but was two and a half quicker than Vandoorne. The Mercedes duo were the only drivers to lap within a second of Alonso.

Alfa Romeo’s Robert Kubica was fourth fastest, ahead of Yuki Tsunado. Tsunoda completed 123 laps for Alpha Tauri, as it’s expected that in the coming days the Japanese driver will be announced as Pierre Gasly’s teammate for next year.

Juri Vips went sixth fastest going five-hundredths faster than Antonio Fuoco in the Ferrari. Vips’s teammate former Formula E champion Sebastien Buemi crashed the Red Bull, the Swiss driver damaging the rear of the car with him ending the day twelfth.

Callum Ilott had a solid day eighth fastest behind fellow Ferrari junior driver, just behind development driver Antonio Fuoco. Alonso shared the driving with Chinese driver Guanyu Zhou, he was over a second and a half off Alonso.

Jack Aitken returned to the car for Williams, he was tenth fastest almost eight-thousandths of a second behind the Chinese driver. Robert Shwartzman managed the most laps for Ferrari, he did a hundred and twenty-nine laps the most of any driver, going eleventh.

Marino Sato managing a hundred and twenty-seven laps on his way to thirteenth. The Japanese driver was over a second faster than F2 champion Mick Schumacher, who was third in terms of laps completed.

Testing resumes in March at the Circuit de Barcelona – Catalunya for a three-day pre-season test before the Australian Grand Prix


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