Britain's Paul di Resta made his track debut as an official F1 race driver today during the opening day of testing at Valencia in Spain, running in last year's Force India, the VJM-03.

The Scot was on track in the afternoon only - completing baseline runs in advance of his first full day of testing tomorrow. His best lap was a 1 minute 14.461 seconds, which placed him fourth on the overall timesheets. He did 28 tours in total.

"A short outing for me today," he said, "but good to get back in the car and out on track again after a couple of months off. And it was also great to be back in the team environment knowing that this is all building up to the start of my first season in F1.

"We completed just under 30 laps to get ready for the full day tomorrow. I think we're in good shape to get through the full programme and get the information we need to feed into the development of the new car."

Meanwhile, team-mate Nico Hulkenberg, who will act as Force India F1's third/reserve driver this season, ran this morning and he finished up second quickest on his debut for the Silverstone-based outfit, his quickest lap a 1m 13.938s, less than two tenths off the top time set by reigning world champion, Sebastian Vettel. He did 71 laps.

"Generally a very productive and promising first day with the team," said Hulkenberg, who last year of course was with Williams. "The main goal was principally for me to get used to the team, the car and the new Pirelli tyres and my impressions of all were pretty positive. It was great to be back in an F1 car and I got back up to speed quicker than I thought.

"Programme-wise I worked through the different set-ups on the car and was able to complete a lot of laps, which gave me a good first understanding of how the Pirelli tyres worked as I was not able to do any running at the tyre test last year. I really enjoyed the day and am looking forward to working with the team over the coming weeks as we prepare for the start of the season."

"Our strategy for this test was to use the VJM3 to gain our drivers some early season mileage and collect as much data on the Pirelli tyres as possible," added Dominic Harlow, FIF1 circuit engineering director.

"Overall we achieved our objectives today, looking at the three compounds available here and with both Nico and Paul driving the car. Fortunately the weather for the coming two days is forecast to remain fairly good and we look forward to continuing with our work over the remaining two days."




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