Ferrari’s Felipe Massa made the best of the opening day’s test at Jerez in southern Spain.
The Brazilian clocked up 101 laps over the course of the morning and afternoon, with a best of 1:20.709 – nearly eight-tenths clear of the next quickest man, Sergio Perez. The Sauber pilot clocked up 94 laps in his C30 – both Massa and Perez will return tomorrow.
Mark Webber was next up in the RB7 with a quickest lap 1:21.522; only two-tenths up on Daniel Ricciardo, this years Toro Rosso reserve driver. Ricciardo only ran in the morning, before handing over to teammate Jaime Alguersuari. The Spaniard notched up the 6th best lap, some 1.98 seconds slower than Massa.
In between the Toro Rosso pair was McLaren’s Lewis Hamilton. The 2008 World Champion gave the MP4-26 its first run, placing 5th in the time sheets by the evening’s chequered flag.
Another team to début their 2011 charger was the Force India VJM04. It was left to Adrian Sutil to do the driving duties and the German ran for 28 laps, with a best of 1:23.472. That placed Sutil a few thousandths quicker than Renault’s Vitaly Petrov.
The Russian will also be running tomorrow, with Saturday and Sunday being split between Bruno Senna and Nick Heidfeld – the Renault squad will quickly need to decide who replaces the injured Robert Kubica when the season starts next month.
Mercedes’ Nico Rosberg was next up, finishing 3.25 seconds slower than Massa. Already there appear to be worries from the Mercedes camp that the car is a disappointment with talk of a Bahrain upgrade filtering down. Rosberg ran 67 laps, before hydraulics ended his day prematurely.
Jarno Trulli took 10th spot ahead of Virgin’s Timo Glock, giving the early impression that not much has changed in the ordering of the teams. Williams new boy Pastor Maldonado brought up the rear, although a difficult day filled with inactivity left the Venezuelan 14.26 seconds shy of Massa. By the evening, Maldonado had only completed 14 laps.
There were a few red flags throughout the day, mainly caused by spins from Petrov and Perez; however a number of other stoppages occurred that stuttered the session somewhat.
Only eleven teams will be running in Jerez this week. Hispania Racing have taken this week out to commit to taking a testing and media schedule at Monza from Monday to Wednesday of next week.
Pos Driver Car Time Gap 1. Felipe Massa Ferrari 1m20.709s 2. Sergio Perez Sauber-Ferrari 1m21.483s + 0.774s 3. Mark Webber Red Bull-Renault 1m21.522s + 0.813s 4. Daniel Ricciardo Toro Rosso-Ferrari 1m21.755s + 1.046s 5. Lewis Hamilton McLaren-Mercedes 1m21.914s + 1.205s 6. Jaime Alguersuari Toro Rosso-Ferrari 1m22.689s + 1.980s 7. Adrian Sutil Force India-Mercedes 1m23.472s + 2.763s 8. Vitaly Petrov Renault 1m23.504s + 2.795s 9. Nico Rosberg Mercedes 1m23.963s + 3.254s 10. Jarno Trulli Lotus-Renault 1m24.458s + 3.749s 11. Timo Glock Virgin-Cosworth 1m25.086s + 4.377s 12. Pastor Maldonado Williams-Cosworth 1m34.968s + 14.259s