Sebastian Vettel, Red Bull, Jerez, 2012

Vettel fastest on day one in Barcelona

2012 F1 testingPosted on | Author Keith Collantine

Sebastian Vettel, Red Bull, Jerez, 2012
Sebastian Vettel was quickest at the Circuit de Catalunya

Sebastian Vettel led the way for Red Bull in the first day of testing at the Circuit de Catalunya today.

The world champion set a best time of 1’23.265 – two seconds slower than the fastest lap of the circuit in testing last year, set by Michael Schumacher.

Schumacher was at the wheel of the new Mercedes W03 for the first time at a public test and was one of six drivers to lap within a second of Vettel’s best time. The others were Nico Hulkenberg, Lewis Hamilton, Daniel Ricciardo, Fernando Alonso and Sergio Perez.

Charles Pic had his first run for Marussia after being confirmed as the team’s second driver this year. He drove the team’s 2011 car and was slowest of the day’s runners.

Heikki Kovalainen brought out the red flags early on in the day when he spun his Caterham. The team blamed a problem with the rear suspension and Kovalainen spent several hours in the pits while it was sorted out, before returning to the track.

Sauber also lost time with a problem on their C31 requiring them to remove its gearbox for repairs. And Daniel Ricciardo’s Toro Rosso came to a stop with an hour to go, bringing out the red flags once more.

But Lotus were hardest hit by technical problems. The team had to scrap the day’s testing entirely after running into a problem with their second E20 chassis.

Driver Car Best time Laps Difference
1 Sebastian Vettel Red Bull-Renault RB8 1’23.265 79
2 Nico Hulkenberg Force India-Mercedes VJM05 1’23.440 97 0.175
3 Lewis Hamilton McLaren-Mercedes MP4-27 1’23.590 114 0.325
4 Daniel Ricciardo Toro Rosso-Ferrari STR7 1’23.618 76 0.353
5 Fernando Alonso Ferrari F2012 1’24.100 75 0.835
6 Michael Schumacher Mercedes W03 1’24.150 51 0.885
7 Sergio Perez Sauber-Ferrari C31 1’24.219 66 0.954
8 Bruno Senna Williams-Renault FW34 1’25.711 97 2.446
9 Heikki Kovalainen Caterham-Renault CT01 1’26.035 31 2.770
10 Romain Grosjean Lotus-Renault E20 1’26.809 7 3.544
11 Charles Pic Marussia-Cosworth MVR-02 1’28.026 121 4.761

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Image ?? Red Bull/Getty images