• Jerez Test Day One

Massa leads the way as testing resumes

ESPNF1 Staff
February 10, 2011 « Ferrari responds to Ford's plans to sue over F150 name | »

Felipe Massa finished the opening day of testing at Jerez on the top of the pile, after his best time of 1:20.709 remained unbeaten in the afternoon session.

The teams were met by clear blue skies for the second pre-season test of the year and even enjoyed track temperatures upwards of 28C as the morning chill eased. Massa, who was focusing on the Ferrari's aerodynamic performance and its effect on the Pirelli tyres, had a relatively trouble-free day and notched up just over 100 laps in total.

Sauber rookie Sergio Perez got closest to the Ferrari's benchmark time with a 1:21.483, but, as always with testing, the times should not be seen as a true indicator of performance. However, one car that continues to look impressive is the Red Bull RB7 and Mark Webber completed 94 laps at the wheel with the third fastest time. After a morning in the Toro Rosso STR6, reserve driver Daniel Ricciardo set the fourth fastest time which race driver Jaime Alguersuari was not able to match in the afternoon.

Three new cars hit the track for the first time, with the McLaren MP4-26, the Force India VJM-04 and the Virgin MVR-02 all emerging from the garages in the morning. Lewis Hamilton was at the wheel of the McLaren and notched up a healthy 58 laps as well as the fifth fastest time. The MP4-26 was the centre of attention as spies from other teams tried to clarify if McLaren was running a forward-exiting exhaust similar to Renault's. The car was definitely running a different layout to the one it had at its launch, but the mechanics did a good job at hiding its secrets from the prying lenses of photographers.

Adrian Sutil had a tougher time in the Force India and sat out of most of the morning session before completing 28 laps in the afternoon. The team explicitly said it was not chasing headline times but instead focusing on reliability. Likewise, Virgin completed 42 laps after a morning in the garage debugging gremlins and finished the day 0.6 seconds shy of rivals Lotus.

But the new cars weren't the only ones to struggle with reliability. Williams' Pastor Maldonado completed just 13 laps after problems with the actuator on its moveable rear wing in the morning. Mercedes and Nico Rosberg completed 67 laps, but without showing front-running pace. Rosberg also caused one of two red flags in the afternoon when the W02 stopped on track.

Renault, which is still reeling from the news that Robert Kubica will miss the start of the season due to a serious rallying accident last weekend, caused the other stoppage when Vitaly Petrov had a problem at turn one. After a long period in the garage in the morning due to an oil leak, he completed 57 laps in total.

Nick Heidfeld and Bruno Senna will be evaluated as possible replacements for Kubica later this week, while rumours continue to circulate that Kimi Raikkonen and Tonio Liuzzi are still in with a shot. The thoughts of the paddock were clearly with Kubica, however, as several teams stickered get-well-soon messages in Polish on their cars.


Driver Car Time Laps
1. Felipe Massa Ferrari F150 1:20.709 101
2. Sergio Perez Sauber C30 1:21.483 94
3. Mark Webber Red Bull RB7 1:21.522 94
4. Daniel Ricciardo Toro Rosso STR6 1:21.755 31
5. Lewis Hamilton McLaren MP4-26 1:21.914 58
6. Jaime Alguersuari Toro Rosso STR6 1:22.689 42
7. Adrian Sutil Force India VJM-04 1:23.472 28
8. Vitaly Petrov Renault R31 1:23.504 57
9. Nico Rosberg Mercedes W02 1:23.963 67
10. Jarno Trulli Lotus T128 1:24.458 54
11. Timo Glock Virgin MVR-02 1:25.086 42
12. Pastor Maldonado Williams FW33 1:34.968 13