Daniel Ricciardo WILL BE the fastest, one day

Australian Toro Rosso test driver Daniel Ricciardo impressed on the first day of pre-season testing, finishing fourth fastest, one second quicker than Toro Rosso’s fulltime driver Jamie Alquersuari.

Touted by many as the next Australian to secure a full time drive in Formula One, Ricciardo did himself a world of good on Thursday, lapping the Jerez circuit in 1m21.755 seconds, just two-tenths slower than compatriot Mark Webber in third.

Ricciardo will fulfil Friday practice and test duties for the ‘other Red Bull team’, Toro Rosso in 2011, but may find himself in a race seat sooner if the young Aussie can continue to out-perform the Toro Rosso full time drivers.

All of the drivers on day one of the pre-season test bore messages of support for injured F1 Renault driver Robert Kubica, who looks certain to miss most of the 2011 season following his monster rally crash in Italy.

Lotus Renault will evaluate Nick Heidfeld, Bruno Senna and Pedro De La Rosa as possible replacements for Kubica during the four day test, with Nick Heidfeld most likely to take the spot.

Unofficial Thursday test times from Jerez:
1. Felipe Massa, Ferrari, 1:20.709
2. Sergio Perez, Sauber, 1:21.483
3. Mark Webber, Red Bull, 1:21.522
4. Daniel Ricciardo, Toro Rosso, 1:21.755
5. Lewis Hamilton, McLaren, 1:21.914
6. Jaime Alguersuari, Toro Rosso, 1:22.689
7. Adrian Sutil, Force India, 1:23.472
8. Vitaly Petrov, Renault, 1:23.504
9. Nico Rosberg, Mercedes GP, 1:23.963
10. Jarno Trulli, Lotus, 1:24.458
11. Timo Glock, Virgin, 1:25.086
12. Pastor Maldonado, Williams, 1:34.968

by Buford Balony


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