Australian rising star Daniel Ricciardo has continued his scintillating form in the British Formula 3 Championship, dominating a mid-week test at Silverstone to reassert his status as favourite for the title.
Driving the Carlin Motorsport prepared Dallara-Volkswagen, Ricciardo blitzed the pack in wet conditions, setting a fastest time of 2m 01.953s, three tenths quicker than closest rival Riki Christodoulou.
Walter Grubmuller and Nick Tandy, Ricciardo?s main challengers during the previous round at Oulton Park didn?t fare as strongly, sitting well of the pace set by the Red Bull backed driver as they struggled to navigate their way around the rain soaked circuit.
Ricciardo?s Carlin teammate, Max Chilton bounced back from a frustrating weekend, posting the fourth quickest time - albeit more than a second behind.
After graduating from Formula Renault, Ricciardo faced a race against time to build the strength necessary to adapt to his new car, while adjusting to the massive difference in handling between the two open-wheelers.
He told Autosport earlier in the week: ?Compared to Renault, the F3 is obviously a heavier, faster car, so physically I've had to increase my training from last year.?
?Also, getting used to using a handbrake for the starts and getting the technique has been tricky, but I seem to have got it nailed this weekend. I'm aware I've just got to keep learning, but I now feel I'm at the level where I have an understanding of what the car can do and can get the most out of it.
?My relationship with my engineer is getting better and we're making good progress.?
Ricciardo?s rise to prominence has drawn comparisons with German Sebastian Vettel who, backed by Red Bull, surged into Formula One and became the youngest race winner in history.
With Scuderia Toro Rosso?s Sebastien Bourdais under increasing pressure, a strong campaign from Ricciardo could see him in line for a place on the F1 grid next season.
Under FIA rules, the top three finishers in the F3 championship become eligible for a Superlicence, the accreditation needed to make the quantum leap to F1.