A large number of improvements towards the end of running on the first day of testing at Barcelona means the lap times presented a misleading picture of who was doing what today.
Nico Rosberg’s time of 1:22.616 put them just seven one-thousandths of a second clear of Kimi Raikkonen in the overall standings, ahead of Fernando Alonso and Sebastian Vettel.
However, for a lot of the day it was Vettel who had been quickest around the Circuit de Catalunya. The world champion set the quickest lap of the morning on the hard tyres and then lowered that benchmark in the afternoon on the mediums. The Red Bull was one of the fastest cars at the last test in Jerez and has definitely continued in the same vein here.
Alonso also impressed during the course of Tuesday. The Ferrari driver missed the first test in Jerez to concentrate on physical training for the new season and wasted no time getting down to work today, completing 110 laps – 24 more than any other driver – and was in the around the front end of the times for the majority of the day.
Williams launched their new car this morning and Pastor Maldonado enjoyed a trouble-free day of running to end the day fifth, a good showing considering the FW35 is one test behind the rest of its rivals in terms of track time. However, with it being the first day of running, it is too early to say where they are compared to the other teams.
Lotus had another good day of running, with Kimi Raikkonen setting the second quickest time on both the hard and medium tyres, whilst McLaren opted to stay out of the limelight as Sergio Perez finished down in seventh, 1.5 seconds off the pace. One can’t help but feel that McLaren will show its hand more over the coming days.
Elsewhere, Daniel Ricciardo continued Toro Rosso’s promising start to testing by posting the sixth fastest time, whilst Paul di Resta and Esteban Gutierrez got a good amount of running in. Max Chilton edged out Charles Pic at the back of the grid.
With the teams having used the first day to acclimatise themselves to the Circuit de Catalunya, we should get a clearer picture of who’s looking good over the next few days.
1) Nico Rosberg (Ger) Mercedes – 1m22.616s (54 laps)
2) Kimi Raikkonen (Fin) Lotus – 1m22.623s (44 laps)
3) Fernando Alonso (Esp) Ferrari – 1m22.952s (110 laps)
4) Sebastian Vettel (Ger) Red Bull – 1m22.965s (66 laps)
5) Pastor Maldonado (Ven) Williams – 1m23.733s (86 laps)
6) Daniel Ricciardo (Aus) Toro Rosso – 1m23.884s (73 laps)
7) Sergio Perez (Mex) McLaren – 1m24.124s (77 laps)
8) Paul di Resta (GB) Force India – 1m24.144s (82 laps)
9) Esteban Gutierrez (Mex) Sauber – 1m25.124s (68 laps)
10) Max Chilton (GB) Marussia – 1m26.747s (65 laps)
11) Charles Pic (Fra) Caterham – 1m27.534s (49 laps)