Esteban Ocon made the most of an extended afternoon session at the Red Bull Ring to rack up 76 laps at the wheel of Force India's VJM08 on day one of the latest F1 group test.

The GP3 Series frontrunner hadn't been due to drive until day two but, with Mercedes summoning Pascal Wehrlein to sub for Nico Rosberg, Ocon's run was brought forward by 24 hours. Heavy rain confined the Frenchman and his rivals to the pit-lane throughout the morning but, once unleashed after lunch, he quickly began racking up the laps and trimming his time as he moved to the head of the field midway through the afternoon, only being usurped - ironically by Wehrlein - as the session moved into extra time.

"It was a shame that we had so much rain this morning, but I'm happy that we were able to run late into the evening," Ocon said of the decision to make up for the lost running with extended track time, "The car was brilliant today - very enjoyable to drive and I noticed how much it had improved compared to the last time I drove in Barcelona.

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"On days like this you learn so much because mileage in an F1 car is so precious and I was able to test in both the wet and the dry. I didn't want the day to end because it was such a fantastic experience to work with the engineers and the whole team. Thank you to everyone for the experience once again."

Ocon's best lap on a day that saw the debut of elements of Force India's VJM08 upgrade package, was a 1m 11.192s effort that left him just a tenth off the ultimate pace.

"It's been quite a strange day with the torrential rain this morning forcing us to shift the entire programme to the afternoon and evening," chief race engineer Tom McCullough noted, "Esteban took everything in his stride with a very mature approach and didn't put a foot wrong all day.

"The primary objective was to continue giving him as much experience as possible across the changing weather conditions. He therefore ran on the full wet tyre, the intermediate and the dry tyre compounds we had available, while we also fitted some special instrumentation to the car to collect valuable correlation data for some development aero parts."

Wehrlein returns to Force India for day two of the test.