• First Barcelona test - Day 1

Vettel fastest on opening morning

ESPNF1 Staff
February 21, 2012
Sebastian Vettel completed 38 laps on Tuesday morning © Sutton Images
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Sebastian Vettel set the fastest time on the first morning of this week's Barcelona test with a time of 1:23.343 in his Red Bull.

He set his best lap just before 13:00 after a chilly but clear start at the Circuit de Catalunya had kept lap times fairly high early on. Force India's Nico Hulkenberg was closest to Vettel's time with a 1:23.440, ahead of Lewis Hamilton's McLaren, Daniel Ricciardo's Toro Rosso and Fernando Alonso's Ferrari.

Testing got underway at 09:00 after Mercedes launched its new car, the W03, in the pit lane. The 2012 Mercedes had already completed a full day of testing at the circuit on Sunday, but this was the first time it has appeared alongside its rivals. Michael Schumacher set the sixth fastest time with a 1:24.150, just ahead of Sergio Perez's Sauber with a 1:24.219.

By lunchtime the top seven drivers were covered by just 0.876s, although it is still impossible to know what fuel loads the fastest laps were set on.

Bruno Senna was eighth fastest in the Williams and, much like last week when the team was focused on getting a good baseline with the FW34, he was off the pace with a 1:26.188. Romain Grosjean was ninth in the Lotus E20, which was the surprise package of the first test at Jerez. Things did not appear to be running so smoothly on Tuesday morning, however, as Grosjean completed just 7 laps with a best time of 1:26.809. The team confirmed during the lunch break that a problem with a new chassis had caused it to abandon its running for the day.

Heikki Kovalainen's Caterham could only muster nine laps before coming to a halt at the final corner just after 11:00. The car remained in the garage for the rest of the morning and his best time stood as a 1:27.537. Charles Pic managed to clock up 65 laps in the 2011 Marussia as he became acclimatised to a Formula One car ahead of his debut season.


Driver Car Time Laps
1. Sebastian Vettel Red Bull RB8 1:23.343 38
2. Nico Hulkenberg Force India VJM05 1:23.440 47
3. Lewis Hamilton McLaren MP4-27 1:23.590 45
4. Daniel Ricciardo Toro Rosso STR07 1:23.618 45
5. Fernando Alonso Ferrari F2012 1:24.100 37
6. Michael Schumacher Mercedes W03 1:24.150 43
7. Sergio Perez Sauber C31 1:24.219 29
8. Bruno Senna Williams FW34 1:26.188 56
9. Romain Grosjean Lotus E20 1:26.809 7
10. Heikki Kovalainen Caterham CT01 1:27.537 9
11. Charles Pic Marussia MVR02 1:29.248 65