Daniel Ricciardo led the way at Jerez on Thursday for Red Bull Racing, as the 2009 F1 young driver test came to a close at Jerez in southern Spain.

Ricciardo completed 77 laps in total in his Red Bull RB5, his best a 1 minute 17.418 seconds, more than a second up on his closest rival.

He spent the day working on aerodynamic testing and even though track time was shortened by some light rain in the middle of the day, he still completed the planned programme. Indeed his best lap was not only easily the fastest of the week, but it was also the best recorded at Jerez this year.

"These last three days have been an incredible experience for me," said the 2009 British F3 champion as he reluctantly stepped out of the cockpit. "I would like to thank Red Bull for giving me this great opportunity, which has made me even more determined to make it into F1 one day.

"I know it was just a test, but seeing my name on the top of today's timesheet was really something special."

Paul di Resta meanwhile was 'best of the rest' on a 1m 18.736s, despite a few issues after lunch: "It was a little interrupted this afternoon with one spin into the gravel and then an electrical issue that stopped us out on track so we lost some time in places," explained the Force India 'guest' driver.

"All the same the team ran through their programme and despite the stoppages we made progress and I think the team got some good results. I think I had a good time at the end and found some more performance so I'm happy on both accounts. Thanks to everyone for a great week and for giving me a chance."

Gary Paffett rounded out the top three, taking over the McLaren-Mercedes MP4-24 from Oliver Turvey this afternoon. Paffett focused on a series of set-up and tyre analysis runs, while Turvey, who was seventh on the unofficial timesheets, did some aero tests and several ten lap runs.

"Oliver did a very good job and contributed towards our week's test work," said McLaren test team manager, Indy Lall. "He made a very good impression on his introduction to F1."

Next quickest was Mike Conway, who led the way for Brawn, three tenths off di Resta and Paffett, followed by Nico Hulkenberg's Williams and the BMW Sauber piloted by Bertrand Baguette.

"I've really enjoyed the last few days in Jerez and it was great to be asked back by the team to take part in the testing programme," said Conway. "The team had a great season and the chance to drive the World Championship winning car and experience its performance for myself has been amazing.

"We achieved some good work and it has been a nice way to end the season. Thanks to the team for giving me this opportunity."

Hulkenberg and Baguette were equally pleased: "We've had two positive days at Jerez. It was good for me to get back in the car and get some laps in before next year," Hulkenberg stated. "I covered a lot of mileage, which I was pleased about, and I got used to driving the F1 car quite quickly, which I wasn't really expecting as it's been quite a long time since my last outing. The car felt good and we fitted in a lot of set-up work, so I'm happy with the two days."

"I am very happy with what we did today. In the morning I was worried because of the weather conditions but, apart from the rain at lunch time, it turned out to be a very nice day and we completed our entire programme," Baguette continued. "Of course I'm also happy that I managed to get in a good lap time on my very last run despite a lot of fuel on board. The balance of the car was very good, I enjoyed the driving a lot. I was able to work with the engineers and want to thank the team for all that I have learned today."

Further down the order, after Turvey in seventh, Marcus Ericsson was eighth followed by Lucas di Grassi's Renault and JR Hildebrand's Force India.

"Today was a busy day and I completed over 120 laps," said di Grassi. "We did lots of different things including some performance work, some long stints and simulations for 2010.

"It was good for me to get back in an F1 car and the programme over the last couple of days has given me a lot of valuable experience. We managed to complete the most important tasks for the week and hopefully everything we have learnt will help with the development of next year's car."

Of the rest Ferrari trio Pablo Sanchez Lopez, Daniel Zampieri and Marco Zipoli came in eleventh, twelfth and thirteenth respectively, while Brendon Hartley and Mirko Bortolotti were 14th and 15th for Toro Rosso.

Ho-Pin Tung brought up the rear, although he only did 4 laps, just to get a feel for driving in damp conditions.

To see the day three testing times in full, click here.


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