Preparation for the 2015 Formula One world championship officially got under-way today with the first pre-season test of the year at the Jerez circuit in Spain.
Sebastian Vettel topped the first session of the year with his new team of Ferrari. The German completed a solid 60 laps over the course of the day with a best lap of 1’22.620; 6 tenths of a second faster than the fastest time of all 4 days of Jerez testing last year. It is always important to remember of course that lap-times in pre-season testing are not representative of who will be the fastest this year. Kimi Raikkonen, for example, was the fastest driver in this session a year ago, yet he went on to finish 12th in the standings after a lacklustre year.
Second place on the time-sheets went to Marcus Ericsson in the Sauber. The former-Caterham driver was just over a tenth slower than the works Ferrari team after completing an impressive 73 laps; the joint 2nd largest amount of laps completed during the test. The Swedish driver caused a very brief red flag early in the morning after a spin, but he managed to get back going under his own steam.
The man who completed the most amount of laps was Nico Rosberg in the Mercedes. The reigning champions had the best day of all the teams after completing a staggering 157 laps; a stark contrast to last season when no team managed to break the 100 lap mark. Nico was the leader for the majority of the day after managing to beat last year’s best time at Jerez within the first 90 minutes of running.
The ‘camouflaged’ Red Bull RB11 had a much better first day of running than it’s predecessor last year. Daniel Ricciardo completed 35 laps and held the 4th fastest time compared to a year ago when the RB10 could only manage 3 laps with no registered time. It is understood that Red Bull’s hindrance today was a battery failure followed by an engine related problem later on.
Valtteri Bottas followed Ricciardo with the 5th fastest time for Williams. The Finnish driver matched Ericsson’s feet of completing 73 laps with a best time of 1’23.906. Carlos Sainz had a good first day behind the wheel of the 2015 Toro Rosso. The Spaniard completed 46 laps and was 6th fastest, but his day ended slightly prematurely after his car broke down on track, causing the only significant red flag of the day.
Fernando Alonso admitted at the launch of the McLaren-Honda MP4-30 that it was likely that the first few days of testing would be difficult. “I think the first couple of days with the car we will discover many things and we need to be ready to react to all the problems we may face and be ready with an answer from everybody all together,” he had said. He was proven right today as he was only able to put in 6 laps over the course of the day thanks to the intense packaging of the McLaren. Nevertheless, he tweeted after his running that he was ‘So proud of my team’ for completing their first laps.
Despite a difficult day for the home-hero, Alonso wasn’t the driver at the bottom of the time-sheets. Pastor Maldonado had been scheduled to take part in today’s test, however the 2015 Lotus E23 was still on it’s way to the Jerez circuit as the day drew to a close. The Lotus should make it’s on-track début in tomorrow’s test in the hands of Romain Grosjean. The test will also see the world champion Lewis Hamilton, Daniil Kvyat, Jenson Button and rookie drivers Max Verstappen and Felipe Nasr take to the track for the first time in testing.
Jerez pre-season test day 1 time-sheets:
|4||Daniel Ricciardo||Red Bull||1’23.338||35|
|6||Carlos Sainz||Toro Rosso||1’25.327||46|
|8||Pastor Maldonado||Lotus||No time||0|