Jerez Test Day 1: Button tops the first F1 timing sheets of 2013

Jenson Button drives the McLaren MP4-28 on day one at Jerez

Jenson Button drives the McLaren MP4-28 on day one at Jerez

At the wheel of the McLaren MP4-28, Jenson Button topped the timing sheets at the end of the first day of testing for the 2013 Formula 1 season at the Jerez circuit in Southern Spain.

Jenson Button McLaren MP4-28 is recovered

Jenson Button McLaren MP4-28 is recovered

The 2009 world champion completed 37 laps and clocked the best time of 1:18.861 late in the day, which in the end was almost a full second on his closest rival, Mark Webber in the Red Bull RB9. Romain Grosjean was third fastest in the Lotus E21.

Button’s best was also almost a second up on last year’s best time of 1:19.670 set on the opening day at the same venue.

However, it was by no means an easy day for McLaren as they suffered a mechanical fuel-pump issue – the kind that cost them dear last year – early in the day, before even attempting a flying lap. The MP4-28 was returned to the pits on the back of a recovery vehicle.

Repairs took time, hence Button was only able to complete 37 laps which was about half of what most teams were able to rack up during the course of the day.

“I had a good feeling with the car, I felt at home immediately. It feels very similar to what I have felt in the simulator which is great because it means when we develop the car we can develop it from the simulator,” Button told Sky Sports at the end of the day.

Max Chilton

Max Chilton

There were a couple more red flag stoppages on the day, with Nico Rosberg coming to a halt out on circuit due to a wiring loom problem. There was a brief flash fire at the rear end of the Mercedes W03 which the team explained as “unburnt fuel in the exhausts[which] subsequently ignited but did not cause any serious damage.”

Rosberg ended the day eighth fastest.

There was a scare for Max Chilton in the Marussia MR02, when the rear right suspension appeared to fail, throwing the car into a spin before ending up in the crash barriers, without major damage. The team were investigating the cause of the failure.

About 50 minutes in total were lost to the red flag stoppages during the course of the day.

Webber was second fastest with 73 laps on his chart, and declared himself happy with the Red Bull RB9, summing up his day, “There’s a bit of housekeeping we have to get on top of but, other than that, it’s been encouraging. The car feels similar to last year’s, so the main difference is the tyres.”

Mark Webber

Mark Webber

Despite delays caused by ballast redeployment and KERS battery change on the Lotus E21, Grosjean also ended his day with a smile on his face. He completed 54 laps and said,  “The feeling is good from the E21; it feels very similar to the E20 from behind the wheel, even if it does look different from the outside.”

Paul di Resta completed 89 laps, more than any of his rivals, ending the day fourth best as he “focused on collecting aero data and understanding how well the car correlates with our simulation tools at the factory.”

Daniel Ricciardo, was fifth fastest, heading up a trio of Ferrari powered cars in the Toro Rosso STR8.

Up next was Felipe Massa in the Ferrari F138, with 64 laps to his credit, but 1.6 seconds down on the top time of the day. The team summed up their opening day: “The entire day was given over almost entirely to acquiring data relating to the behaviour of the new car.”

Romain Grosjean

Romain Grosjean

Sauber new boy Nico Hulkenberg was seventh fastest in the C32.

The only team yet to unveil their 2013 car is Williams, thus Pastor Maldonado spent the day in last year’s FW34 evaluating the new Pirelli tyres while concentrating on “running some new systems in preparation for the FW35.”

Newly signed Caterham driver Giedo van der Garde was the CT03, he last drove for the team during Friday free practice in Brazil, thus well positioned to do back-to-back comparisons between the new car and last year’s model. He declared himself content that progress was done over the winter, ending the session 10th fastest but three seconds down on Button’s best lap time.

Jerez Testing Day 1 Results – Monday, 5 February 2013

P Driver Car

Times

Gap

Laps
1 J.Button McLaren MP4-28 1.18.861 37
2 M.Webber Red Bull RB9 1.19.709 +0.848 73
3 R.Grosjean Lotus E21 1.19.796 +0.935 54
4 P.Di Resta Force India VJM06 1.20.343 +1.482 89
5 D.Ricciardo Toro Rosso STR8 1.20.401 +1.540 70
6 F.Massa Ferrari F138 1.20.536 +1.675 64
7 N.Hulkenberg Sauber C32 1.20.699 +1.838 79
8 N.Rosberg Mercedes W04 1.20.846 +1.985 11
9 P.Maldonado Williams FW34 1.20.864 +2.003 84
10 G.Van der Garde Caterham CT03 1.21.915 +3.054 64
11 M.Chilton Marussia MR02 1.24.176 +5.315 29
-
Stoppages:
Drivers Team Red Flag Green
1 J.Button McLaren 09h32 09h50
2 N.Rosberg Mercedes 10h24 10h39
3 M.Chilton Marussia 15h43 15h58
  • fools

    I know it early and just testing… However Ferrari should not be behind Force-India or Toro-Rosso.

  • F1 Novice

    I was at Jerez today…….. Button’s car looked planted !

  • WTkFox

    Sometimes, the fastest times posted is not the most important thing needed. The fuel loads, front/rear wing adjustments, KERS, components, testing of different parts compared to wind tunnels and a whole bunch of other things are higher up then lap times.
    Higher lap totals can tell you far more, in terms of data, than lap times, especially since some components may not last as long as its expectations.
    There also may be components testing for next year’s regulation changes. This is testing after all, so no one has any idea what’s really going on in the garages.

  • The Fuzz

    Was panicking to start off but good to see Button so far ahead. Lotus look good too..

    F1 Novice. If you’re still around, what else can you tell us about your day? DId anyone use soft tyres?

  • McHare

    Looking GOOOOOOD… Ok first day of testing and I know you shouldn’t get too excited but I ‘m liking the comment from our F1 Novice. That comment stands for so much.

  • The Fuzz

    #McHare
    Have a word with your pals down at Woking.. Make sure they develop the car in the first part of this year and don’t sit back thinking the jobs all done.

  • The Fuzz

    Having that beautiful word ‘planted’ associated with your car gives a warm feeling inside

  • McLarenfan

    @F1 Novice: That is music to my ears lets hope now that they manage to keep the forward momentum.

  • Tony

    You’re getting carried away with first days testing guys. Ok…. She’s clearly not a dog but lots of testing and new bits to fix on

  • McHare

    Interestingly Alonso was fastest on the last day of testing last year in the red hound on a 1:18:877.. Probably a low fuel quali type lap for that car but puts JBs lap into perspective. His suprised comments suggest that he wasn’t really trying too hard

  • Butterfly

    Looking at the various pictures taken, it’s obvious the aero kit on the Ferrari is last year’s with one or two minor tweaks. They clearly have something big in hand for T3.

  • McHare

    You blind Butterfly? That Ferrari rear wing with its end plate trailing edge slats is new as is all the detail turning vanes around the rear wheels. Sure there’s more to come but it certainly ain’t a hybrid lash up.

  • Butterfly

    @McHare:

    Those slats are mostly optimizations. I’m talking about “major surgery”.

  • Hawk

    McLaren has always been fast out of the blocks. Same last year when everyone thought the RB was sand bagging.
    but all the same it is not a bad position to be in even if one or two could actually be sand bagging.
    Topping the time sheets by almost a second is very good but like last year there were periods of unreliability which is key.
    Where I disagree with @WTkFox is that by the time they post the fastest time and by such a margin they have all the things you have mentioned in perspective and at the end of the day apart from the reliability issue the fastest man wins.