Sebastian Vettel began his Ferrari career at the top of the timesheets on the first day of pre-season testing at Jerez, but the real revelation was Mercedes’ Nico Rosberg, coming 3rd fastest but running far longer than anyone else.
The German completed 157 laps in total, more than twice as many as the nearest challenger. This is astonishingly reliable form for the very first day of testing, and bodes very well for Mercedes maintaining their dominance should it hold up.
Perhaps another surprising result was Marcus Ericsson in the Sauber, who despite an early spin was 2nd fastest and joint 2nd with Valtteri Bottas in terms of laps, the Finnish driver unveiling the new Williams for real before going 5th fastest.
SEE ALSO: Jerez Test #2: Vettel quickest again, Hamilton and McLaren hit trouble
Daniel Ricciardo took what’s now being called the “zebra” Red Bull round for 35 laps and was 4th fastest. Though he was less than a quarter of a second behind Rosberg as the day ended, in a press conference afterwards Chief Technical Officer Adrian Newey praised Renault’s efforts to close the estimated ten percent power deficit to Mercedes, but was otherwise uncertain about the team’s prospects, telling BBC Sport: "Good first day. The car is a decent step forward, but it'll be difficult to mount a serious title challenge."
Fernando Alonso was only able to complete six laps in the McLaren today, but the 33 year-old seemed happy with his first day back with the team, tweeting: "First laps. So proud of my team. #happy." Ron Dennis said in a news conference that they're running developmental engines at the moment, and that the aerodynamically-optimized “size zero” power-unit and bodywork, built in close collaboration with engine manufacturer Honda, was causing their teething troubles. And after only five laps in the Abu Dhabi post-season test last November, the Woking squad’s definitely playing catch-up. Dennis also claimed that the MP4-30’s livery has yet to be finalized, but what will change remains to be seen.
Toro Rosso’s Carlos Sainz Jr. had a reasonable first day, stopping out on track during the afternoon session, and Lotus didn’t run at all since they only fired up their new E23 on Saturday, and are waiting for it to be flown over to Spain. They’ve confirmed they won’t be testing until Tuesday.
Jerez Testing Day One Results
- Sebastian Vettel Ferrari 1:22.620 60 laps
- Marcus Ericsson Sauber-Ferrari 1:22.777 73 laps
- Nico Rosberg Mercedes 1:23.106 157 laps
- Daniel Ricciardo Red Bull-Renault 1:23.338 35 laps
- Valtteri Bottas Williams-Mercedes 1:23.906 73 laps
- Carlos Sainz Jr. Toro Rosso-Ferrari 1:25.327 46 laps
- Fernando Alonso McLaren-Honda 1:40.738 6 laps