Bianchi sets pace at colder Magny-Cours

The second day of Formula 1 testing at Circuit de Nevers Magny-Cours saw significant ground covered by the participating teams, with all three undertaking valuable development work at the French track.

Leading the way in the endurance stakes were Scuderia Ferrari who completed a total of 165 laps over eight hours of running, with MERCEDES AMG PETRONAS and Sahara Force India also making full use of the morning and afternoon sessions.

As was the case yesterday, Frenchman Jules Bianchi topped the times on home turf by recoding a lap of 1m16.467.

But having produced Tuesday's effort aboard the Scuderia Ferrari car, Bianchi enjoyed the rare experience of piloting two different Formula 1 machines in 24 hours as he switched to Sahara Force India's VJM05. Running a total of 117 laps, the Nice-born driver quickly settled into the car in which he has contested seven Formula 1 free practice sessions during the 2012 season.

A 1m17.482 saw second spot go to Britain's Sam Bird as the MERCEDES AMG PETRONAS squad again worked through an extensive development program. Such was the significance of the team's work, seven-time Formula 1 World Champion Michael Schumacher visited Magny-Cours to check on his outfit's progress and offer some track tips to test driver Bird. The German possesses a unique insight into the 4.4km circuit having taken an incredible eight French Grand Prix wins at the venue, the most any driver has scored at one race in the history of Formula 1.

Third fastest was Italian racer Davide Rigon who posted a 1m17.925 aboard the Scuderia Ferrari machine. The 27-year-old was making his debut in an official test for the team and used the occasion to cover impressive ground for the world championship-chasing squad.

The test concludes tomorrow with running again scheduled to begin at 9am local time. Bianchi is set to return to the Ferrari car for the final day with Venezuela’s Rodolfo Gonzalez taking his vacated berth in the Force India and MERCEDES AMG PETRONAS fielding Bird's fellow development driver Brendon Hartley.

Tickets will be available from the circuit gate at a cost of €10.

Davide Rigon, Scuderia Ferrari: “I have driven the circuit before and I really, really enjoy it. In a Formula 1 car it is unbelievable – I think I was laughing to myself for the first 10 laps before getting on with my program! It's a nice track with quick corners, chicanes and slow turns, so a good mix. In the morning we did a lot of aerodynamic work and this afternoon we focused mainly on long-run set-ups. Fortunately the track proved very stable, which allowed us to get accurate measurements. Overall I am very happy."

Sam Bird, MERCEDES AMG PETRONAS : “We’ve had a second very positive day at the test and successfully completed our planned schedule, including the evaluation of the performance items that we wanted to achieve. It was a great experience to be back behind the wheel of a Formula One car this week, and to help with the development program, and I would like to thank the team for giving me this opportunity."

Jules Bianchi, Sahara Force India: “Today was very enjoyable and it was great to do so many laps. I’ve done a lot of Friday practice sessions with the team, but when you spend a full day in the car you can do so much more and really start to find the limit. It was a chance for me to get more used to the control systems and experience the car on both high and low fuel. The team asked me to work on the set-up and we saw the lap times improve during the day. I think the time in the car was very valuable and will allow me to help the team even more in the remaining seven races of the season."


Pos Driver Car Time Laps
1. Jules Bianchi Sahara Force India 1:16.467 117
2. Sam Bird MERCEDES AMG PETRONAS 1:17.482 125
3. Davide Rigon Ferrari 1:17.925 165

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