The 21-year-old Renault Sport F1 Team test driver was quickest at the corresponding test 12 months ago, and completed the double today, as the only driver in the 21-car field to set a time under 1m49s.
“Fastest overall is the best way to finish off the season and provides a big dose of extra motivation for me and the team,” said Nicholas, who admitted that setting fastest time hadn’t been his top priority.
“I can safely say that out of all the drivers over the three days I did the least performance running,” he explained. “In the last two morning sessions I did none – we were concentrating instead on long runs.
“Still, I’m happy to end fastest. I know I can do a fast lap time, and I proved that again today. I had only one set of tyres for the whole day today, so it’s good to be able to switch up the pace when I need to – that’s an important skill in GP2.”
With a second season in GP2 planned for next year, Nicholas was satisfied that he and his DAMS team had taken the maximum benefit from the three days of running.
“Looking at the performance, I think we made some good steps forward. Compared to the race weekend I had a much nicer feeling in the car,” he explained.
“But I still have a lot of work to do. There are places where I’m missing something and where I’m determined to improve. We tried some different set-ups here and I’m hopeful that our analysis of the data we collected will give us some answers.”
Nicholas, who is supported by Royal Bank of Canada, Lavazza and Sofina now heads to Europe to prepare for a test next week in Valencia, Spain, when he will drive Renault’s 2012-spec V8-powered E20 Formula One car.