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.
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