Young Brit Adrian Quaife-Hobbs admitted it had been a 'huge experience' to sample F1 machinery for the first time in a proper testing environment after half a day of running with Virgin Racing on Tuesday.
Quaife-Hobbs earned the chance to drive in Abu Dhabi after ending the GP3 season as the highest placed driver for the Marussia Manor team, and took part in the morning session on day one of the Young Driver Test.
Having taken part in straight-line tests in the past, Quaife-Hobbs admitted he was thrilled to get the chance to test the MVR-2 properly as he continues to build his experience levels.
“I have to start by saying a very big 'thank you' to Marussia Virgin Racing for this fantastic opportunity today,” he said. “It's been a great experience and I've learned a lot. This morning I began with some CSL (constant speed limiter) runs on the straights so the team could conduct some aero measurement work and then I got into the programme properly.
“I ran two sets of new tyres and just began chipping away as I learned more about the car and how it reacts. Overall I'm pleased with the day and it's been a huge experience for me.”
For the afternoon, Charles Pic – hotly tipped to earn a Virgin race seat for 2012 – took over at the wheel of the car for his first chance to sample F1 machinery.
“Today I had my first run in an F1 car, so it was a very special day but with a lot of new things to learn.,” he said. “The high speed corners and braking were things I had to adjust to, but I felt my acclimatisation went well. I'm very happy with this first step. At the end, we decided that some changes we need to make would take some time, so it was better to wait until tomorrow and save a set of tyres.
“Wednesday will be a big day for me as there is a plan to do a lot of tyre testing, so it is an opportunity I am really looking forward to as I will be able to learn all the types of tyre and see how they react. I am really enjoying working with the team. They have been very welcoming and helpful, so I am happy with my first day of testing.”