Sahara Force India‘s development driver Nikita Mazepin enjoyed his return behind the wheel of a Formula 1 car as he tested for Silverstone based team at the post-Spanish Grand Prix test.
The Russian driver completed 112 laps during his test runs, setting a time of 1:18.344 to go fifth fastest of the day.
Mazepin has previously tested with the Force India team this season back in pre-season testing but was in harsh winter conditions compare to a warmer May weather, days after he clinched his first GP3 Series win in Barcelona.
Speaking after his test, Mazepin said that it was a pleasure to be back behind the wheel of an F1 car and that the car is better compare to pre-season.
“It’s always a pleasure to be in the car and, as always, I have tried to deliver the best job I could in the most professional way” said Mazepin.
“The conditions are very different compared to the last time I drove the VJM11 during the winter. The car feels so much better now and from the first moment I could feel the positive step the team made.”
During the test, Mazepin conducted multiple programmes relating to long and short runs with the soft Pirelli tyres and the new Hypersoft tyre.
Having tested in the simulator back at Silverstone, Mazepin said that the test during the week was more consistent and easier to drive compare to the cold conditions of testing in March.
“I had my reference points from my work in the simulator so it wasn’t all new for me, but it still felt much more consistent and easy to drive compared to pre-season testing.”
“Our programme included a mix of long and shorter runs working mainly on the softs and hypersoft. We had a small issue in the morning that prevented us from running as much as we would have liked, but we were able to catch up in the afternoon.”