Felipe Massa posted the quickest time as the first F1 test of the new season kicked off in Spain, with former team-mate Michael Schumacher making his long-awaited return at the wheel of a modern-F1 machine.
While Schumacher garnered much of the attention, it was Massa who led the way for Ferrari as he completed more than 100 laps at the wheel of the new F10 – focusing on set-up work on the new machine and posting a quickest time of 1min 12.784secs.
That put the Brazilian two-tenths of a second clear of Pedro de la Rosa, who produced an encouraging performance for BMW Sauber following the unveiling of the C29 yesterday. The Spaniard admitted he was happy with his showing and promised there was still more to come as he gets used to his new surroundings, with the former McLaren man back in action on Wednesday. Kamui Kobayashi will sample the car on Tuesday.
“For me it was a very positive day,” de la Rosa said. “The car was reliable right from the beginning, which meant we could follow our programme perfectly without wasting any time. Also the car reacted to our changes very well. For me it was a day to get used to not only the new car but also to the team with all the people. And, of course, driving-wise there's more to come from me as this was only my first day after a long break.”
de la Rosa was followed on the timesheets by the returning Schumacher, who hit the track for his first run in the Mercedes W01 during the afternoon.
Taking over from team-mate Nico Rosberg, the German soon got into his stride to end the day half a second clear of his team-mate as Mercedes elected to give both drivers track time.
"We have had a very useful first day of testing here in Valencia,” team boss Ross Brawn said. “Our priority was to ensure that the new car was functioning properly and allow both drivers to use their short window of track time to get acclimatised to the car and its operations. Today's work has provided a good basis for the next couple of days and it was rewarding to see that the car ran reliably.
“I would like to say thank you to everyone at the factories in Brackley and Brixworth for all their hard work in preparing the car to test here this week. And finally, it's been a very special day to work with Nico for the first time, to work with Michael once again and to complete our first active day as the Mercedes-Benz works team."
Gary Paffett was fifth quickest for McLaren as the team carried out system checks on the new MP4-25, while Rubens Barrichello was sixth for Williams. The Brazilian caused the only red flag of the day when he stopped on track late in the afternoon.
Sebastien Buemi was confined to the Toro Rosso garage for much of the day due to a gearbox problem but returned to the circuit late on to post the seventh quickest time, with Robert Kubica propping up the times on his first run in the new Renault R30.
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