Raikkonen tops opening day of F1 test

Circuito de Jerez. © Creative Commons / Will Pittenger

Former world champion, Kimi Raikkonen topped the first day of pre-season testing at Jerez yesterday.

In his first official session since returning to Formula 1, the Finn completed 73 laps, topping the time sheets with a best of 1:19.670 in his Renault-powered Lotus.

It proved to be a useful day for Raikkonen, whose day was briefly interrupted by a KERS battery change in the afternoon.
The 2007 World Champion spent the first day completing various system checks and data correlation, while the team evaluated the initial aerodynamic package of the E20.

It was a similar story at Force India, with Paul di Resta notching up 101 laps amidst set-up work and systems checks. Jules Bianchi takes to the wheel of the VJM05 today.

Both Nico Rosberg and Michael Schumacher ran last year’s Mercedes GP W02 in effort to learn more about the 2012 Pirelli tyres, completing 98 laps between them.
Whereas Mercedes enjoyed an uninterrupted day of testing, Red Bull were less fortunate. A delayed shipment of parts meant Mark Webber missed the morning; however due to the cool temperatures of the early session, the loss was not significant.

Daniel Ricciardo managed 57 laps in the STR7, before the Toro Rosso stopped with reported oil pressure failure, bringing out the first red flag of the day.
Kamui Kobayashi caused another stoppage shortly afterward, when his Sauber C31 halted on track. Irrespective, the Japanese pilot made much progress testing basic systems, clocking 106 laps come the chequered flag. Teammate Sergio Perez takes the next two days, with Kobayashi returning to the C31 on Friday.

After some short stints in the morning, McLaren’s Jenson Button completed several longer runs in the afternoon as the Woking squad attempt to understand the new Pirelli’s.
A day of data acquisition awaited Ferrari’s Felipe Massa yesterday – the Brazilian ran 69 laps with no issues.

Heikki Kovalainen’s opening day with the new Caterham CT-01 was brief when the starter shaft failed at the halfway point of the day, stalling the Finn on 28 laps.
It was even less mileage completed by Pastor Maldonado in the Williams. The Venezuelan registered 25 laps testing the team’s new engine installation and aerodynamic configuration. Teething issues finished the day early for the Grove team.
Pedro de la Rosa ran in last year’s F111 for Hispania, completed 44 laps for the Spanish squad, who are using the Jerez test to bed in a new technical team. Much of the day was used testing the new Pirelli’s and bringing the team up to speed.

Although there are those will look to the times and make judgements, it must be remembered that testing is just that – testing, rendering the laptimes somewhat irrelevant.

For the nuts and bolts of things, look to Joe Saward, Kate Walker, ManipeF1 and, of course, Autosport. For the more techy minded, there are always Racecar Engineering and Craig Scarborough.

2012 Formula 1 Pre-Season Test (Jerez, Day One, February 7th)
Pos  Driver            Team          Time                Laps
 1.  Kimi Raikkonen       Lotus         1m19.670s            73
 2.  Paul di Resta        Force India   1m19.772s  + 0.102  101
 3.  Nico Rosberg         Mercedes      1m20.219s  + 0.549   56
 4.  Mark Webber          Red Bull      1m20.496s  + 0.826   53
 5.  Daniel Ricciardo     Toro Rosso    1m20.694s  + 1.024   57
 6.  Michael Schumacher   Mercedes      1m20.794s  + 1.124   41
 7.  Kamui Kobayashi      Sauber        1m21.353s  + 1.683  106
 8.  Jenson Button        McLaren       1m21.530s  + 1.860   60
 9.  Felipe Massa         Ferrari       1m22.815s  + 3.145   69
10.  Heikki Kovalainen    Caterham      1m23.178s  + 3.508   28
11.  Pastor Maldonado     Williams      1m23.371s  + 3.701   25
12.  Pedro de la Rosa     HRT           1m23.676s  + 4.006   44

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