Ma Qing Hua becomes first Chinese to drive F1 car

Updated: Jul 13, 2012, 17:29 PM IST

London: Ma Qing Hua has become the first Chinese to drive a Formula One car after he got the taste of HRT`s F112 at the Silverstone Circuit.

"Thursday was an historic day for Formula 1 (F1) and HRT," said the team on its official website.

The morning`s programme included short test stints for the Shanghai-born driver, who tried to adapt to the car and build up confidence at the wheel, completing 54 laps (318 km). In the afternoon, Ma covered a further 28 laps (165 km), recording the best time of 1:37.829.

"It was a fantastic feeling to drive a F1 car for the first time," said the 24-year-old.

"It`s not easy to put into words what I felt. Yesterday, I found it hard to sleep and I tried to calm down by thinking that it was just another test. I`m very proud to represent China and be a pioneer for my nation in this sport," he added.

Luis Perez-Sala, HRT team principal, was satisfied with Ma`s performance.

"It`s not easy to drive a F1 car and he made no mistakes. We want to take things one step at a time with him. He did a great job and now we have to continue working so that he can continue to progress in his journey towards F1."