Valtteri Bottas lived up to expectation as the fastest driver on track at the Young Driver test being conducted at Silverstone, but more importantly the Finnish prospect also got through a lot of work for the Williams
Making the most of the sun's return to Northamptonshire, team and driver racked up 120 laps - nearly 40 more than anyone else present - as Bottas worked through a series of aerodynamic correlation tests and race simulations. In the midst of his workload, the reigning GP3 Series champion clocked a 1min 31.436secs lap that proved to be fully five seconds faster than second-placed Max Chilton's best in the Marussia.
"It's been a busy day completing 120 laps without any problems," Bottas confirmed, "We had a little rain towards the end, but tested everything we wanted to on mixed fuel levels.
"It's been a really useful day for both me and the team. The shorter runs are good fun, especially on this track, but I was particularly looking forward to the longer runs. It was really useful to gather some information on how the tyres behave over the various runs and I feel that I am continuing to improve as a driver."
Benefitting from replacing Bruno Senna during last Friday's opening practice session on the same circuit, Bottas was able to get down to quick times relatively quickly, and his final mark, while not being directly comparable to his own wet-weather effort at the grand prix, was an improvement on Williams' best lap of the weekend, the 1min 32.622secs effort posted by Pastor Maldonado
in Saturday morning practice.
"It was a very productive day for us," race engineer Tom McCullough acknowledged, "We had some rain in the last 20 minutes which brought our race simulation to an early end, but the car was reliable all day, allowing us to gather lots of data for evaluation. We had a very ambitious run plan and achieved nearly everything, which is a good result. Valtteri drove excellently all day, doing everything we asked of him without putting a foot wrong."
Bottas continues in the lone Williams-Renault FW34 for the second and final day of the test on Friday [13 July].