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