Kimi Raikkonen set the fastest time at Jerez, as winter testing ahead of the 2012 F1 season kicked off in earnest.
In total there were 11 teams running in Jerez, with only Marussia not present. Most teams were giving their new cars a debut outing, however both Mercedes and HRT were running 2011 specification cars. Both Nico Rosberg and Michael Schumacher got a chance to run in the Mercedes today.
Raikkonen wanted to start strongly and send out a positive message and he certainly did that; he was straight into the groove, after his two day outing in Valencia in an old Renault F1 car recently. His time of 1m19.670s was competitive and he set the pace for most of the day in the new Lotus Renault E20, but Force India’s Paul di Resta ran him close. The Scot had an encouraging day with over 100 laps covered in the new Force India car, which was shaken down at Silverstone on Friday.
Also putting in a solid mileage was the new Sauber C31, with Kamui Kobayashi covering the highest mileage of the day with 106 laps, pretty impressive for a brand new car.
Caterham’s new car had a few Day 1 niggles including a starter shaft problem which meant they had trouble getting the engine started as well as a cooling issue, and the new Toro Rosso stopped out on track with Dan Ricciado at the wheel due to an oil pressure problem.
Times are secondary at this stage to mileage, but nevertheless the pace was pretty strong for Day 1. Last year Felipe Massa set the fastest time on Day 1 in Jerez with 1m 20.709s, a second slower than this year. And last year Jerez was the second test after a session at Valencia, so the cars were more sorted.
The Pirelli tyres are a step softer this year, but against that the cars have lost a lot of downforce from the banning of blown diffusers.
Jerez test: Day 1
1. Kimi Raikkonen Lotus 1m19.670s 73 Laps
2. Paul di Resta Force India 1m19.772s + 0.102 101 Laps
3. Nico Rosberg Mercedes 1m20.219s + 0.549 56 Laps
4. Mark Webber Red Bull 1m20.496s + 0.826 53 Laps
5. Daniel Ricciardo Toro Rosso 1m20.694s + 1.024 57 Laps
6. Michael Schumacher Mercedes 1m20.794s + 1.124 41 Laps
7. Kamui Kobayashi Sauber 1m21.353s + 1.683 106 Laps
8. Jenson Button McLaren 1m21.530s + 1.860 60 Laps
9. Felipe Massa Ferrari 1m22.815s + 3.145 69 Laps
10. Heikki Kovalainen Caterham 1m23.178s + 3.508 28 Laps
11. Pastor Maldonado Williams 1m23.371s + 3.701 25 Laps
11. Pedro de la Rosa HRT 1m23.676s + 4.006 44 Laps