Twenty-four hours after he drove the Force India car for the first time, Bathgate’s Paul di Resta found himself behind the wheel of the Formula One racer again after he was drafted in for a second day of testing at Jerez.
The 23-year-old Scot, who completed 300kms on the opening day in Spain on Wednesday to qualify for the FIA Superlicence he needs to race in F1, had not been expected to drive again until the final F1 test in Barcelona next week.
Instead, after the team revamped its driver schedule following his impressive performance earlier this week, Di Resta completed another 56 laps today in far from ideal conditions.
“We seemed to have even more rain today than we did on Wednesday,” explained Di Resta, whose best lap of 1min 30.344secs on the 2.751-mile track saw him finish seventh-fastest of the 12 drivers, “plus today we had strong, blustery winds making it even worse.
“If there’s one thing we’re all going to have agreed on, it’s our wet-weather set-up; but given the fact the first race next month is in Bahrain, it’s not exactly ideal preparation. At no time today was the track fully dry.
“But we’ve racked up a whole load of test and development laps and banked a whole stack of data so, despite the poor weather, we’ve put the time to good use. Plus it’s given me a whole load of extra experience in the car and I’m pleased with what I’ve achieved.”
Di Resta, the team’s reserve and test driver, was replaced in the afternoon by race drive Tonio Liuzzi. But the Italian, despite registering 71 laps, could only manage a best time of 1:30.666s.
Brazilian Rubens Barrichello finished the day at the top of the timesheets after clocking a best of 1:27.145 in his Williams. The former Ferrari and Brawn grand prix winner was 0.683s quicker then the Renault of Russian new boy Vitaly Petrov.
And while Wednesday’s pacesetter Sebastian Vettel had to content himself with third for Red Bull, former world champ Lewis Hamilton could only manage 10th with a best of 1:31.633 in his McLaren.
All 11 teams will test at the Spanish circuit again tomorrow and Saturday but the rain, which came and went today ensuring far from ideal conditions, is expected to remain.