Ahead of the final two rounds of the season, Renault junior pairing Christian Lundgaard and Guanyu Zhou enjoyed a spin in the Formula 1 team’s R.S.18 at the Bahrain International Circuit, which will host Rounds 10 and 11.
The test was centred around building the pair’s understanding of F1 machinery in their continued development towards a potential seat with the teamin the future.
Lundgaard took to the car on the first day and made the most of his first appearance on the track, putting in a mega tally of 101 laps around the Sakhir based circuit.
“It was good to be back in a Formula 1 car,” elated the ART Grand Prix driver. “Jumping into an F1 car on a circuit I’ve never driven brought a really nice challenge. I think it all came to me quickly and I felt comfortable straight away on the first run.”
As well as gaining an understanding of the track layout, Lundgaard test included long-runs and multiple Qualifying simulations around the 5.412km circuit. The Dane is currently fourth in the Driver’s Championship, two points off Yuki Tsunoda.
“The whole point of this process is to learn as much as possible,” he continued. “I’m grateful for the opportunity and I certainly enjoyed every second of it. I’m very happy, we got some good running in and I’m quite confident for the Formula 2 race in a few weeks’ time. I’m looking forward to it.”
Zhou – who is the team’s official test driver – completed two days in the car, although the first was disrupted by technical issues. The second was focused on the setup of the car, qualifying runs and longer runs, while trying to make up for lost time.
“It’s always a privilege to drive a Formula 1 car,” said Zhou. “To have this two-day test in Bahrain in the Renault R.S.18 was really beneficial. Day 1 was tricky with some issues and we didn’t get so much running complete.
“Day 2 was much better, and we got through our programme and the things we had to do. There was lots of data to collect, we did race runs and qualifying runs.
The UNI-Virtuosi racer is eighth in the Championship, less than three points behind Louis Delétraz in seventh place. Zhou remains just 20.5 points off fifth place ahead of the final two rounds of the season and believes the test will have boosted his chances of climbing up the leaderboard.
“Each time I’m in the car, I’m straight up to speed and I felt quite comfortable,” he continued. “It’s a challenge getting familiar with all the settings but that’s also quite a fun experience. Testing in Bahrain before the Formula 2 race is definitely useful, so I’m really looking forward to racing there later this month.”