Nico Rosberg was the fastest driver on track in Barcelona today as the second of three pre-season tests got underway at the Circuit de Catalunya.
His Mercedes team spent most of their morning fixing a gearbox issue that struck after the German had completed just 14 laps. Nevertheless, Rosberg was back out on track in the afternoon and topped the timesheets by just 0.007 seconds from Kimi Raikkonen.
“We had a mixed day today with some laps lost this morning,” he said. “However we were able to work through a good programme this afternoon and, of course, it’s always nice to be quickest at the end of the day.
“In general, I feel happy and comfortable in the car and it feels better than the last time we were here at this track.”
Raikkonen did the fewest laps of any driver today after ‘telemetry data-logging’ issues on his Lotus. Even so, the Finn was sounding positive about his new car:
“After Jerez it’s nice to be at a circuit where we race and the E21 is definitely a step in the right direction,” said the 2007 world champion. “There’s lots of work yet to do this week but I’m happy with where we are at the moment.”
Today also saw the first appearance of Fernando Alonso. The Spaniard wasted no time in getting acquainted with the new Ferrari F138, completing 110 laps and finishing the day third on the timesheets. Sebastian Vettel, who had a few electrical gremlins in his Red Bull this morning, was fourth.
Williams unveiled their new car in the Barcelona pit lane this morning before the action got underway. Pastor Maldonado was the first to drive it. The Venezuelan completed 68 laps in the FW35 and ran at the top of the timesheets for much of the morning before finishing the day as the fifth fastest driver.
“It was great to get out on track in the new car,” said Maldonado, who was keen to sing its praises. “The FW35 feels like we have made a real step forward. There is still a lot to discover with the new car, but this is a good starting point for us for the season.”
Daniel Ricciardo and Sergio Perez were sixth and seventh, with Paul di Resta, who completed a decent 82 laps for Force India, in eighth.
Esteban Gutierrez was seventh in the Sauber whilst Max Chilton used the soft Pirelli tyre late in the day to better Charles Pic‘s best efforts. Pic’s day came to an early end after a gearbox problem in his Caterham.
See the full list of unofficial times from Day 1 here.