• First Barcelona test - Day 1

Vettel sets the pace in Barcelona

ESPNF1 Staff
February 21, 2012
Sebastian Vettel lowered his time in the afternoon session on hard tyres © Sutton Images

Sebastian Vettel set the fastest time on the opening day of the first Barcelona test as Red Bull revealed some impressive pace.

Though Vettel's time of 1:23.265 was only 0.353s quicker than Daniel Ricciardo in fourth, the fact that he set his best time on the hard compound tyre means there is plenty more still to come from the RB8. Nico Hulkenberg was second with a 1:23.440 set during the morning session, with Lewis Hamilton third and Daniel Ricciardo fourth, also on times posted before lunch.

It was a very productive day for Hamilton, who was one of only two drivers to complete over 100 laps in stark contrast to the testing woes McLaren suffered in 2011. Ricciardo caused the only red flag of the afternoon session when his Toro Rosso came to a halt at turn 8. The team described the cause as a "technical problem" and it put paid to any further running for the STR07 in the final hour after 76 laps.

Fernando Alonso was fifth quickest but fell 25 laps short of the 100-lap target he had set Ferrari at the end of the Jerez test. Michael Schumacher gave the W03 its first public outing and was immediately competitive as he set the sixth fastest time - his 1:24.150 putting him just 0.050s behind Alonso and within 0.9s of Vettel. It wasn't a straightforward day for Mercedes, however, with Schumacher only completing 8 laps in the afternoon.

Sergio Perez was seventh in the Sauber ahead of Bruno Senna, who improved to a 1:25.711 during the afternoon and completed 97 laps in another show of reliability from Williams. Less reliable was Heikki Kovalainen's Caterham which suffered a rear track rod failure in the morning session and only rejoined with 40 minutes of the session left. It was still enough time for him to bring his total up to 31 laps, and the car showed good pace to get within 0.350s of Senna's Williams.

Romain Grosjean remained tenth despite Lotus abandoning its running for the day after only seven laps. A problem with the chassis was to blame and the original chassis from Jerez will be delivered overnight with the team confident it will be ready to run again on Wednesday. Charles Pic was slowest in the 2011 Marussia, but the team covered 121 laps on its first day of testing this year in a display of reliability and fitness from Pic.


Driver Car Time Laps
1. Sebastian Vettel Red Bull RB8 1:23.265 79
2. Nico Hulkenberg Force India VJM05 1:23.440 97
3. Lewis Hamilton McLaren MP4-27 1:23.590 114
4. Daniel Ricciardo Toro Rosso STR07 1:23.618 76
5. Fernando Alonso Ferrari F2012 1:24.100 75
6. Michael Schumacher Mercedes W03 1:24.150 51
7. Sergio Perez Sauber C31 1:24.219 66
8. Bruno Senna Williams FW34 1:25.711 97
9. Heikki Kovalainen Caterham CT01 1:26.035 31
10. Romain Grosjean Lotus E20 1:26.809 7
11. Charles Pic Marussia MVR02 1:28.026 121