Ferrari junior and Sauber reserve driver Raffaele Marciello enjoyed a successful debut outing on a grand prix weekend on Friday in Malaysia as he became the first Italian driver to take part in an F1 session in four years.
Marciello, 20, is one of the rising stars of motorsport, having won the FIA F3 European Championship back in 2013 before enjoying a successful debut season in GP2 last year.
The Italian driver remains in GP2 for 2015, but is combining these commitments with a reserve role at Sauber.
As part of his duties, he was given a first taste of a grand prix weekend session in Malaysia by running in FP1 on Friday, finishing 13th in the final standings with 13 laps under his belt.
“It was a good session for the team,” Marciello said. “For me it was a bit challenging, as I was driving the Sauber C34-Ferrari for the first time ever on a track I have not driven on before.
“However, I felt confident in the car quite quickly and was able to improve from run to run. I completed the planned programme, so I think I did a good job. The temperatures were already high, so the grip level on track was low.
“Besides that, the circuit was a bit dirty, so the conditions were not the best, but this was the same was for everyone. Overall, it was good for me driving the Sauber C34-Ferrari in the first free practice.”
Marciello finished just six-tenths of a second behind full-time driver Marcus Ericsson in FP1, and will be hoping to get another chance to impress for Sauber in practice in the near future.