Nico Rosberg shone for Mercedes GP on track at Jerez today after rain blighted the first day of resumed F1 testing for many of the teams.
Especially hard-hit was Virgin F1, hoping to try out its striking red and black car on track for the first time, and to gauge whether its CFD-based design approach would stand up next to the more traditional wind-tunnel-inspired engineering of the other teams.
The car, driven by former Toyota pilot Timo Glock, ventured out on track for a mere five laps with the German saying after the session that weather would have to improve if the team was to make any progress.
But some of the older hands were more adept in seeking out a few useful laps between the showers. Rosberg topped the unofficial listing of drivers who made the most of the morning session’s first hour, setting dry times before the weather closed in. His best lap was 1:20.927.
He was, however, also among those experiencing problems after his car came to a halt on its 58th lap, causing the session to be red-flagged. Mark Webber, out in the Red Bull RB6 for the first time, also left the track on a flatbed, requiring an engine change before he could rejoin.
Toro Rosso’s Sebastian Buemi was little more than a second behind Rosberg on 1:21.031 while Williams new boy Nico Hulkenberg put in a mammoth 118 laps, running in the Cosworth powerplant, to win himself third place on the timesheets on 1:22.243.
His boss Sam Michael later said that it was still pointless trying to make comparisons between cars at this early stage in proceedings.
Fernando Alonso for Ferrari had a relatively subdued day, recording the fourth-fastest lap time, while Kamui Kobayashi was fifth for Sauber.
Jenson Button for McLaren was more than four seconds off Rosberg’s pace in sixth, but his restrained time may have been down to the specific work the team was doing on the car, since it was seen carrying initially mysterious aerodynamic sensing equipment through part of the day.
Behind him was Vitantonio Liuzzi in the Force India VMJ03’s first test outing, notwithstanding its Silverstone shakedown, then Vitaly Petrov for Renault achieving just 27 laps of running time. Virgin’s Glock (he’s going to get sick of that, isn’t he) propped up the timesheets following his five-lap excursion.
Jerez test times day one
- Nico Rosberg, Mercedes GP: 1:20.927 (57 laps)
- Sebastien Buemi, Toro Rosso: 1:21.031 (84 laps)
- Nico Hulkenberg, Williams: 1:22.243 (118 laps)
- Fernando Alonso, Ferrari: 1:22.895 (88 laps)
- Kamui Kobayashi, Sauber: 1:23.287 (55 laps)
- Jenson Button, McLaren: 1:24.947 (68 laps)
- Vitantonio Liuzzi, Force India: 1:24.968 (71 laps)
- Vitaly Petrov, Renault: 1:25.440 (27 laps)
- Mark Webber, Red Bull: 1:26.502 (50 laps)
- Timo Glock, Virgin: 1:38.734 (5 laps)