Jerez pre-season test day 1 – Vettel leads the way

Sebastian Vettel topped the opening day of pre-season testing at Jerez on his first day as a Scuderia Ferrari driver, leading the Sauber of Marcus Ericsson and the Mercedes of Nico Rosberg.

The German four-time World Champion set a best lap time of 1m22.620s during the afternoon, toppling long time leader Rosberg. Vettel missed part of the day due to a telemetry problem on the new SF15-T, but ran sixty laps of the Jerez circuit.

Ericsson’s Sauber also jumped ahead of Rosberg late in the day, missing out on top spot by only 0.157s as the Swede completed 73 laps in the new Ferrari-powered Sauber C34. He caused a brief red flag period early in the day after a spin, but was able to recover without outside assistance back to the pit lane.

Rosberg was by far the busiest of the drivers, completing a remarkable 157 laps of the circuit, including a few long runs as the German, runner-up in the 2014 championship, got to grips with the Mercedes-AMG PETRONAS F1 W06 Hybrid.

Daniel Ricciardo was fourth fastest for Infiniti Red Bull Racing, but was restricted to just 35 laps after his early run in the RB11 was halted after smoke was seen coming from the rear of the car. He rejoined the track later in the day only to see his brakes overheat due to a battery problem.

Valtteri Bottas was fifth for Williams Martini Racing in the new FW37, running 73 untroubled laps, finishing 1.286s adrift of the pace of Vettel at the front.

Apart from Ericsson’s spin, the only other red flag period was caused by the Scuderia Toro Rosso of Carlos Sainz Jr stopping on the back straight of the circuit late in the day. The Spaniard finished sixth fastest in his new STR10, 2.707s slower than Vettel.

McLaren-Honda endured another tough day as they came to terms with there new engine package, with Fernando Alonso completing only six laps all day, with only one timed lap over eighteen seconds off the pace.

Only seven teams were present for day one at the Spanish circuit, with the Lotus F1 Team joining Sahara Force India on the sidelines. Unlike Force India however, Lotus have arrived at the circuit and are likely to debut their new Mercedes-powered E23 car tomorrow.

Ericcson (top left), Rosberg (top right), Ricciardo (bottom left) and Bottas (bottom right) were P2-P5 (All Photos Credit: Octane Photographic Ltd)
Ericcson (top left), Rosberg (top right), Ricciardo (bottom left) and Bottas (bottom right) were P2-P5 (All Photos Credit: Octane Photographic Ltd)

Jerez Pre-Season Test Day 1 Times

1 5 Sebastian Vettel GER Ferrari 1m22.620s 60
2 9 Marcus Ericsson SWE Sauber-Ferrari 1m22.777s 73
3 6 Nico Rosberg GER Mercedes 1m23.106s 157
4 3 Daniel Ricciardo AUS Red Bull-Renault 1m23.338s 35
5 77 Valtteri Bottas FIN Williams-Mercedes 1m23.906s 73
6 55 Carlos Sainz Jr ESP Toro Rosso-Renault 1m25.327s 46
7 14 Fernando Alonso ESP McLaren-Honda 1m40.738s 6