For Sebastian Vettel, it was a happy first day with his new team Ferrari, as he topped the timesheets on the first day of the official pre-season test in Jerez. Although, times say nothing at this point of time but it is a boost mentally to finish the day without major issues considering the start they had last year at the same venue.
Behind them in second position was Sauber’s new recruit Marcus Ericsson, marking improvement in the fortunes of the Swiss team in terms of reliability and pace if one is to go by the times(which one shouldn't). Ericsson had a spin towards the end of the day to bring out the red flags.
Slotting in the third position was last season’s runner-up Nico Rosberg for defending champion car Mercedes who completed a marathon 157 laps, the most on day one. The team could play with long runs considering the pace advantage they have; so finishing third would have hardly mattered to the Silver Arrows on the opening day. It should be noted, although Mercedes were champions last year, their reliability was in question is most of the Grands Prix and so an improvement on that front is what the team is hoping to achieve.
Red Bull's lead driver Daniel Ricciardo finished fourth as he dove the camouflaged testing livery of the team. The Australian driver could only manage 35 laps as the team had to end their run early because of smoke emitting from their car.
At fifth was last year’s revelation Valtteri Bottas and Williams who started off late in the afternoon. However, they managed to run a good 73 laps. They certainly hope to build on their 2014 momentum and go one step up if not all the way.
Carlos Sainz Jr was the only rookie driver to drive on the first day of Jerez as he finished sixth for Toro Rosso. The team managed only 46 laps, close to a dozen lap more than their sister team. The Spaniard's day came to an early end when he stopped on track and was responsible to bring out the day’s only second red flag.
Behind him slotted the other Spanish driver Fernando Alonso who could only manage 6 laps for McLaren-Honda. A team still learning about their engine, it seems like they are facing the same problems, the other teams faced last year.
Overall, it was a smooth day in Jerez as teams get on with the 2015 season. What was surprising to see is the amount of running the teams had, considering this time last year, the scene was rather disastrous. At this point of time, it is hard to look at the times but Ferrari will certainly take it as a big stride. But Mercedes still remain the team to beat. Lotus didn’t run today as they were busy bringing in the car to Jerez after a fire-up last day.
Jerez test - Day 1 Results
1. Sebastian Vettel Ferrari 1:22.620 (60 laps)
2. Marcus Ericsson Sauber 1:22.777 (73)
3. Nico Rosberg Mercedes 1:23.106 (157)
4. Daniel Ricciardo Red Bull 1:23.338 (35)
5. Valtteri Bottas Williams 1:23.906 (73)
6. Carlos Sainz Jr. Toro Rosso 1:25.327 (46)
7. Fernando Alonso McLaren 1:40.738 (6)
Tomorrow's driver line up
1. Mercedes - Lewis Hamilton
2. Red Bull - Danil Kvyat
3. Williams - Valtteri Bottas
4. Ferrari - Kimi Raikkonen*
5. McLaren - Jenson Button
6. Toro Rosso - Max Verstappen
7. Sauber - Felipe Nasr
by Darshan Chokhani