Vettel leads the way after the opening day in Valencia

Reigning world champion, Sebastian Vettel, set the pace after the opening day of testing at Valencia. The German completed an impressive 93 tours of the Spanish circuit to end the day just ahead of Nico Hulkenberg.

Hulkenberg, performing his first duties as Force India’s test driver, had an impressive day in an interim car. McLaren also took the track in an interim car with, test driver Gary Paffett, ending the day third, just ahead of Paul di Resta.

Fernando Alonso was fifth. The Spaniard completed almost 100 laps and the double world champion was clearly pleased to have put so mileage onto his car on its opening test. It was not a trouble free day however for the team. With just minutes of the session remaining Alonso’s car ground to halt and the day’s running was brought to a close.

Speaking afterwards Alonso was asked what he thought of the day, “It’s okay, feeling good, nothing surprising,” Alonso told reporters. “The biggest priority for this test is to do mileage, to learn about the car, to have a lot of data for when we go back to Maranello. Today was a positive day, with no mechanical problems at all in the car so that was positive.”

Kamui Kobayashi was sixth aboard the new Sauber. The Japanese star completed 68 laps and finished the session just ahead of Jerome D’Ambrosio, driving an interim Virgin. Mercedes, Renault, WIlliams and Toro Rosso all had technical issues throughout the day that curtailed their running.

Vettel though had no such worries and was clearly pleased to have ended the day as the fastest runner.”I think generally it is better to be on top of the rankings rather than being on the other end,”said Vettel, “It was the first day and it was most important to do laps, which we did – we did around 93 laps and that is quite an achievement and looking back it is something that we never got quite as good on the first day over the last two or three years, so that is a very good sign.”

It may be a good sign for Vettel, for his rivals however it is an ominous sign.

Pos  Driver              Car                   Time       Gap       Laps
 1.  Sebastian Vettel    Red Bull-Renault*     1m13.769s            93
 2.  Nico Hulkenberg     Force India-Mercedes  1m13.938s  + 0.169s  71
 3.  Gary Paffett        McLaren-Mercedes      1m14.292s  + 0.523s  91
 4.  Paul di Resta       Force India-Mercedes  1m14.461s  + 0.692s  28
 5.  Fernando Alonso     Ferrari*              1m14.553s  + 0.784s  97
 6.  Kamui Kobayashi     Sauber-Ferrari*       1m15.621s  + 1.852s  68
 7.  Jerome D'Ambrosio   Virgin-Cosworth       1m16.003s  + 2.234s  71
 8.  Vitaly Petrov       Renault*              1m16.351s  + 2.582s  28
 9.  Michael Schumacher  Mercedes*             1m16.450s  + 2.681s  15
10.  Jaime Alguersuari   Toro Rosso-Ferrari*   1m17.214s  + 3.445s  19
11.  Rubens Barrichello  Williams-Cosworth*    1m17.335s  + 3.566s  77
12.  Narain Karthikeyan  HRT-Cosworth          1m18.020s  + 4.251s  45
13.  Nico Rosberg        Mercedes*             1m19.930s  + 6.161s  9
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