Vandoorne and de Vries complete 192 laps in their W11’s
To complete the 2020 season in the most dominant car possibly ever seen in Formula 1, the Mercedes-AMG Petronas F1 Team completed 192 laps at the Yas Marina Circuit with both formula FIA Formula 2 champions.
Both drivers are teammates for the Formula E for the Mercedes-Benz EQ Formula E Team and they took to the track for the first time in the Mercedes W11. Vandoorne is the official Reserve Driver for the team, while Nyck would be getting his first outing in F1 machinery.
Like their Formula 1 counterparts on a race weekend both driver’s stalked the top of the time screens most of the morning and afternoon sessions.
The sessions postseason are based around building experience in the car under race trim. The programme today included pace setting for both single lap and long runs, set-up changes to understand the effects they have on car balance and understanding the behaviour of the 2020 Pirelli tyres.
The 2019 Formula 2 champion de Vries finished his 110 lap sessions with a fastest time of 1:36.595;
“Today was very special, making my Formula One debut. What an incredible car, it’s from a different planet really. You can brake so late and carry so much speed through the corners. It was a real pleasure to drive. I’m really pleased with the progression I made throughout the day and the work we completed. I was quite surprised with how quickly I felt comfortable in the car and the team was very supportive, doing everything they could to make me feel as comfortable as possible. A massive thanks to Mercedes for this very unique and special opportunity because it was a great day in the car.”
He will indeed be happy with that given the only man ahead of him was Renaults two-time Formula 1 champion Fernando Alonso.
Stoffel Vandoorne of course a former Formula 1 full time driver and former teammate of Alonso completed 82 laps around the Yas Marina circuit to record a fastest time of 1:36.840.
“I had a lot of fun out there today in the W11. I managed to complete plenty of laps with both some short and longer runs. It was a pretty smooth day and I was quickest in the morning session as well. I want to say a massive thank you to the team for giving me this opportunity, because the chance to drive a Championship-winning F1 car doesn’t come around very often and is very unique. It was a real privilege to drive W11 and a really great day. I had to cut the afternoon a little short because I had to leave to the airport for a PR commitment, but nonetheless I’m really happy with the day we’ve had in the car and the opportunity to end the year driving W11.”
All in all the Mercedes team will be pleased with the work done today and to draw a curtain on what has been another fantastic year for the team.
Andrew Shovlin reflected after todays session on what had been achieved no only today but throughout the 2020 season;
“Today was the last time we’ll see the W11 on track for a few years, so it was nice to give it one last run with Nyck and Stoffel, our Formula E drivers. They both did a great job. Stoffel has driven some of our previous cars over the last few years, but this was his first time driving the W11, so it was interesting to get his feedback. Unfortunately, Stoffel had to leave early to make a commitment with the Formula E team and missed the cooler conditions at the end of the day, but we were able to get through a full programme. For Nyck, it was his first day in an F1 car and he’s impressed us with how quickly he was up to speed and his pace on low and high fuel. Both Stoffel and Nyck contribute to our F1 programme with simulator work so today has been a really useful opportunity to let them try the real thing, and a nice way for us to close off the 2020 season.”
FIA FORMULA 1 SESSION TIMES – POST SEASON TEST
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Image Credit: © Mercedes-AMG Petronas F1 Team