Barcelona Day 1: Rosberg fractionally faster than Raikkonen

Nico Rosberg (GER) Mercedes AMG F1 W04

Nico Rosberg in the Mercedes W04 in Barcelona

Mercedes driver Nico Rosberg ended day one of Formula 1 testing at Circuit de Catalunya, in Barcelona, a mere 0.007 seconds faster than Kimi Raikkonen in the Lotus, while Ferrari’s Fernando Alonso signaled his return to work by notching up 110 laps on home soil, far more than any of his rivals.

Rosberg, who endured a torrid first day at Jerez two weeks ago in the new W04, powered around the Spanish Grand Prix venue in 1:22.616 late in the afternoon. He clocked up 54 laps which was less than the team wanted as a gearbox issue cost  the Silver Arrows a chunk of time in the morning.

Nico Rosberg Mercedes W04

Nico Rosberg Mercedes W04

Rosberg said afterwards, “We had a mixed day today with some laps lost this morning. 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. There is still some work to be done on tyre degradation and our programme this afternoon was helpful in understanding that,” explained the German.

Raikkonen’s best also came late in the afternoon, on his 38th timed lap of the day out of a total of 44 which the Finn racked up during his stint in the cockpit of the E21. The team lost out on track time due to  issues on the electronics side with the telemetry data-logging.

Kimi Raikkonen (FIN) Lotus E21

Kimi Raikkonen Lotus E21

Raikkonen summed up his day,  “It wasn’t an ideal day in terms of the number of laps we completed, but the car feels strong and we’ve made some good progress. After Jerez it’s nice to be at a circuit where we race and the E21 is definitely a step in the right direction. There’s lots of work yet to do this week but I’m happy with where we are at the moment.”

Two weeks ago Alonso was sweating it out in the Dubai desert and today his first day ‘back at the office’ it was all about ticking off as many laps as possible, and in the process setting the third fastest lap with about 15 minutes to go in proceedings, which ended up being 0.336 seconds down on the day’s best.

World champion Sebastian Vettel hogged the top of the timing screens for a large portion of the morning in the Red Bull RB9, ending the day fourth fastest with 66 laps on his chart.

Fernando Alonso Ferrari F138

Fernando Alonso Ferrari F138

It was a big day for Williams as they launched their FW35, the last team to uncover their 2013 challenger, and it appears the wait was worthwhile as the new car seemed pretty handy straight out the box with Pastor Maldonado on driving duty, he did 86 trouble free laps – albeit a second down on the best time of the day – around the circuit where last year he scored his maiden grand prix victory.

Next best was Daniel Ricciardo in the Toro Rosso STR8 with 73 laps to his credit.

Further down the order than expected was Sergio Perez, who admitted after Jerez that he was still getting used to the layout of the McLaren which was different in just about every respect to the Sauber he raced last year. He was seventh fastest, 1.5 seconds off Rosberg’s best.

Paul di Resta was eighth fastest in the Force India VJM06 with 82 laps and 0.020 down on Perez ahead of him, while 2.5 seconds adrift of the pace setters was Esteban Gutierrez in the Sauber C32.

Over four seconds off the pace were Marussia and Caterham. with Max Chilton tenth and Charles Pic slowest. The pair were also responsible for the only two red flag stoppages on the day.

Testing continues tomorrow (Wednesday) and runs until the end of Friday. (GP247)

Barcelona Test Day 1, Best Lap Times – Friday, 19 February 2013

P Driver Car Times Gap Laps
1 N.Rosberg Mercedes W03 1.22.616 54
2 K.Raikkonen Lotus E21 1.22.623 +0.007 44
3 F.Alonso Ferrari F138 1.22.952 +0.336 110
4 S.Vettel Red Bull RB9 1.22.965 +0.349 66
5 P.Maldonado Williams FW35 1.23.733 +1.117 86
6 D.Ricciardo Toro Rosso STR8 1.23.884 +1.268 73
7 S.Perez McLaren MP4-28 1.24.124 +1.508 77
8 P.Di Resta Force India VJM06 1.24.144 +1.528 82
9 E.Gutierrez Sauber C32 1.25.124 +2.508 68
10 M.Chilton Marussia MR02 1.26.747 +4.131 65
11 C.Pic Caterham CT03 1.27.534 +4.918 49

Driver Team Red Green
1 E.Gutierrez Sauber 11h11 11h18
2 C.Pic Caterham 14h51 15h01
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