Nicholas’s time was quickest across all three days at the Sakhir International Circuit last week, underlining his pace-setting potential before he embarks on a second season in F2 with DAMS Racing.
The test was the second and final chance for Nicholas to reacquaint himself with his F2 car before the opening round kicks off in Bahrain on 15 April and came a fortnight after another encouraging three-day test in Barcelona, Spain.
Now back at the DAMS Racing base in France to make final preparations, Nicholas is eager to get his second season underway and put into practice everything he learned in 2016.
“Driving the car in testing is great, but after so much build up I can’t wait to get racing,” the 21-year-old said. “And compared to last year I feel that I’m starting from a better position. I certainly hope my experience plays a big role and I can quickly show the benefit of what I learned in my rookie year.
“Coming into my second season in F2 I feel more at home. I know what to expect and am more comfortable and confident with how a race weekend works. I know what you need to put a strong race weekend together and for this year I have experience of all the tracks – I’ve driven them all and that’s a big help.”
Nicholas, who is supported by Royal Bank of Canada, Lavazza and Sofina during 2017, set his quickest time on Thursday’s second day in Bahrain.
“Fastest time over the three days certainly brings a lot of confidence to myself and the team. Okay, my speed was never really an area of concern, but it’s always nice to show it,” he said.
“Overall, I left the test feeling very positive. Whenever I analyse the times I break things down into two parts: outright qualifying speed and race pace. There is still work to do to get those completely aligned, but looking specifically at race pace, together with the team I think we made good progress.”
Nicholas was also encouraged by the performance he managed to extract from his Pirelli tyres.
“Bahrain is definitely the track with the highest tyre degradation in the season, and if it’s manageable there then in theory it should be alright on other tracks,” he said.
“When you’re racing it’s more difficult to manage your tyres, but the test brought me a lot of confidence in this area. I have a good feeling going to the first race.”