F1: Aussie Ricciardo Fourth Fastest At Jerez Photo:
Mike Stevens | Dec, 02 2009 | 0 Comments

Daniel Ricciardo clocked the fourth fastest time on day one of the Formula 1 young drivers test at Jerez in Spain.

Completing 113 laps, the most of all 12 drivers at the circuit, the Perth-native was able to bounce back from an early spin, when he was forced to avoid the wreck of Kiwi Brendon Hartley.

Ricciardo registered a best time of 1:19.534, less than four tenths behind Williams? Andy Soucek who was quickest.

The 20-year-old was also quicker than highly rated Ferrari tester Jules Bianchi and the Brawn GP machines of Mike Conway and Marcus Ericsson.

Ricciardo said: "I?ve done an aero test before, so I?ve done a straight-line thing, but it?s the first time I?ve turned some corners so just to feel the grip was pretty amazing.

"I didn?t stop smiling all day as I expected. The team was really good and let me do my own thing and once I was comfortable we started working and try to get everyone up to speed early for next year."

While Ricciardo completed time on the Red Bull simulator to gain an understanding of the undulating circuit, the reigning British F3 Champion also revealed he received advice from two-time Grand Prix winner Mark Webber.

"He gave me a call last night just giving me a bit of a heads-up before the test and let me know what to expect," he said.

"He was cool, he just said chill out and the main thing was to enjoy it and I definitely did that, so I?ll give him a call tonight and see what he thinks."

The performance, which marked Ricciardo?s first ever opportunity to complete a lap in an F1 car, further enhanced his reputation as a ?driver to watch?, with two of the pilots lapping faster than him, Gary Paffett and Paul di Resta, boasting previous F1 testing experience.

The 24-year-old Soucek meanwhile has been a regular feature in Europe?s development formulae since winning the Spanish F3 Championship in 2005, completing two seasons in GP2 and one campaign in each of the World Series by Renault and Formula 2, which he won this year.

Red Bull Racing boss Christian Horner told Autosport he was pleased by Ricciardo's pace, stating he is under consideration for a third driver's role next year.

"I've been very impressed. He's come through our junior programme. We've followed him through Formula 3 this year - I watched him at Silverstone and was very impressed," he said.

"He was obviously the dominant driver in F3 this year. Our engineers have been very impressed with his simulator work and he?s had a very good first day in the office here.

"We?ll see how this test goes, but he's a very promising young talent. He?s developing well. We?ll analyse this test and make a decision (regarding our third driver over the winter."

Testing resumes tonight Australian time.

Unofficial Tuesday times from Jerez:

1. Andy Soucek, Williams, 1:19.158

2. Paul Di Resta, Force India, 1:19.369

3. Gary Paffett, McLaren, 1:19.426

4. Daniel Ricciardo, Red Bull, 1:19.534

5. Jules Bianchi, Ferrari, 1:19.626

6. Mike Conway, Brawn GP, 1:19.920

7. Alexander Rossi, BMW Sauber, 1:20.227

8. Marcus Ericsson, Brawn GP, 1:20.333

9. Bertrand Baguette, Renault, 1:20.511

10. JR Hildebrand, Force India, 1:20.537

11. Oliver Turvey, McLaren, 1:20.856

12. Brendon Hartley, Toro Rosso, 1:21.325

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