Max Chilton said he was delighted to have completed his first run in an official F1 session after taking part in the opening practice session in Abu Dhabi.
Chilton took over the Marussia of Charles Pic
for the first 90 minutes of running at Yas Marina and set a best time just under a second off that set by team-mate Timo Glock.
The Briton, who is seeking to try and secure a race seat for the 2013 season, had previous experience of the Yas Marina circuit from his time in GP2 and from the previous Young Driver Test and he said he was pleased with the experience of driving on a race weekend.
"My FP1 session went just as well as I could have hoped for and my thanks again to the Marussia F1 Team for making this possible,” he said. “I haven't stopped smiling all day. I have been looking forward to this opportunity for a few weeks now, but when the moment came - with all the pressure - I admit that I was a little nervous. I wanted everything to go well and to have as much track time as possible. In the end, due to the tyre life situation, we built up to two longer runs of eight laps each, where I was able to work on some pretty demanding testing items, procedures and systems.
“On the first run I was very happy to improve immediately - and keep improving. I was hoping to do that again on the second run but unfortunately I was blocked by traffic from a HRT car. There was definitely more to come though and that is the only small frustration in an otherwise memorable day. The team were very supportive and thanks to my engineering team and car crew today, who made me feel right at home."
Team boss John Booth was also happy with Chilton's performance behind the wheel.
"A reasonable start to our race weekend here in Abu Dhabi, with three drivers contributing to the overall free practice programme,” he said. “A word about Max. We already had a significant level of confidence in his ability, as we tested him in the summer, but he put in an exemplary performance this morning. We were happy for him as he's come a long way this year. We were also a little relieved as we wanted him to get a good clean session and everything went very smoothly for him in the end.
“He coped with all the procedures well and although he was capable of more in terms of overall lap time on that second run, the potential is clearly there.”