Ma Qing Hua became the first Chinese driver at an official Formula 1 event after taking part in day one of the two-day young driver test for HRT at Silverstone.
The 24-year-old from Shanghai completed 68 laps, the best of which was clocked at 1:37.829.
“It was a fantastic feeling to drive a Formula 1 car for the first time; it's not easy to put into words what I felt,” he said. “Yesterday I found it hard to sleep and I tried to calm down by thinking that it was just another test.
“I think we did a good job and everything went according to plan, with good weather too. By being here during the Grand Prix, I learned a lot from my teammates and also to work as a team, as it is very important to give the right information to the engineers in order to optimize the performance of the car. In the morning we did the maximum amount of running to get used to the car, engineers and mechanics and buttons, and also to gain confidence.
“I'm very proud to represent China and be a pioneer for my nation in this sport. I'm confident that these tests and the ones that will come in the future will help motorsport to grow in China in the future and will grant more opportun ities for everyone. This is only a first small step but once more I want to express my gratitude to everyone who has supported me and made this possible”.
HRT team principal Luis PÃ©rez-Sala said that he was impressed by the performance of the Chinese rookie today.
“We're very happy to have given Ma this opportunity and also very satisfied and proud of how it went,” he said. “We've got a lot of trust in him and he has responded by doing a good job. We've followed him for a long time and since he joined our programme he's proven his ability and work capacity. And today he showed it once more with an excellent job. It's not easy to drive a Formula 1 car and he made no mistakes.
“We want to take things one step at a time with him and this test was for Ma to have his first real contact with a Formula 1 car at every level. He did a great job and now we have to continue working so that he can continue to progress in his journey towards Formula 1”.