• Jerez Test Report - Day One

Vettel proves Red Bull's pace

ESPNF1 Staff
February 17, 2010 « Indian driver Chandhok linked to Stefan drive | »
Vettel was fastest overall as the teams returned to Jerez for the third test © Getty Images

Jerez Gallery - Day One

Red Bull's Sebastian Vettel topped the timesheets at the first day of testing in Jerez during a session disrupted by five red flags and two heavy rain showers.

Damp conditions meant Vettel's best lap of 1:22.593 was three seconds off the fastest set last week. He clocked the time during a ten-lap run when the circuit was at its driest, although he also showed consistent pace over longer runs.

"We got a lot of laps done and the car has been good and reliable," Ian Morgan, Red Bull's head of race engineering, said. "We've made a few small changes but we didn't get through as much as the programme as we'd hoped because of the weather. Sebastian and the car were consistent on the long runs in the dry which is promising. We're continuing to make steady progress; the car is better than it was last week and every time we turn a wheel we seem to be moving forward a little bit."

Lewis Hamilton came closest to matching the Red Bull's time in the closing moments but missed out by 0.4 seconds. The circuit was still damp in places, but he took on a set of slicks and kept to the dry line to record a 1:23.017. He completed 72 laps in total and caused one of the red flags when he stopped on track early on.

Ferrari's Felipe Massa was third fastest but was stuck in his garage when the circuit was at its best. His Ferrari came to a halt midway through the session, accounting for another of the day's stoppages, but Ferrari insisted the problem wasn't serious. It did admit, however, that it had been a frustrating day and it hadn't got through its planned schedule.

Michael Schumacher completed the most laps despite the weather © Sutton Images

Michael Schumachernotched up the most laps overall with 111 and set the sixth-fastest time behind Sebastien Buemi in the Toro Rosso (fourth) and Pedro de la Rosa in the Sauber (fifth).

"The weather was really changing all the time today which made it difficult to follow our planned programme and to have a clear picture of everyone's performance," Schumacher admitted. "From the laps that we achieved, we have again confirmed the reliability of the car, and from the impressions and data gathered, we can say that the pace and performance looks very good. We have a strong basis to keep up the development this week here in Jerez and next week at the final test in Barcelona."

Paul di Resta was eighth fastest logging 74 laps for Force India as he prepared for his role as a Friday test driver. He caused a red flag early on when he spun on the damp track but completed the rest of his time without incident. Adrian Sutil took over from him for the final hour and went 0.8 seconds faster to finish seventh in the table.

Rubens Barrichello's Williams stopped on track to account for the other two red flags. The Williams was tenth fastest behind Vitaly Petrov's Renault, but completed an impressive 109 laps in total.

One of the biggest stories was the debut of the Lotus. Fairuz Fauzy was entrusted with the T127 and completed a healthy 76 laps despite not having power-assisted steering. His best lap time was over nine seconds off the pace, but team boss Tony Fernandes was happy with its progress and congratulated his test driver. The team is hoping to fit power steering overnight for Heikki Kovalainen's first run in the car tomorrow.

"To arrive here and complete 76 laps is fantastic," said Fauzy. "Today was a big challenge, both to complete the 300kms I need for the Super Licence [the licence required to race in F1], and with no power steering it was difficult to drive in the dry, not so bad in the wet, so I was driving a bit conservatively but I am just very pleased."

Virgin's testing woes continued as the team only managed to complete 10 laps due to a hydraulic problem and was even further off the pace than Lotus. Last week the team missed a day's testing because of a lack of spare parts. It is in need of better luck over the coming days.

Pos. Driver Car Best Time Laps
1. Sebastian Vettel Red Bull RB6 1:22.593 99
2. Lewis Hamilton McLaren MP4-25 1:23.017 72
3. Felipe Massa Ferrari F10 1:23.204 72
4. Sebastien Buemi Toro Rosso STR5 1:23.322 79
5. Pedro de la Rosa Sauber C29 1:23.367 76
6. Michael Schumacher Mercedes W01 1:23.803 111
7. Adrian Sutil Force India VJM03 1:24.272 28
8. Paul di Resta Force India VJM03 1:25.088 74
9. Vitaly Petrov Renault R30 1:26.237 55
10. Rubens Barrichello Williams FW32 1:28.256 109
11. Fairuz Fauzy Lotus T127 1:31.848 76
12. Timo Glock Virgin VR-01 1:32.417 10