Michael Schumacher was right on the pace today as pre-season testing began at Valencia in Spain.

Schumacher took to the track for the first time this afternoon, taking over the Mercedes GP W01 from Nico Rosberg. It was his first run in a current F1 car since April 2008, but despite that he was soon up to speed and ended proceedings with the third fastest time, a 1 minute 12.947 second.

Speaking after completing 40 laps in total, the record-breaking multiple F1 world champion was clearly delighted.

"It was a perfect rollout for the new car today. I felt totally comfortable and really had a feeling that everything was very natural," said the former Ferrari man. "It felt just like at the very beginning of my career in 1991 when on the first lap, I thought 'wow that was really fast' and then on the second lap, I was just extremely excited. I feel like a young boy again and really enjoyed myself out there.

"We did a good job today, just making a few control checks, and the most important thing was that the car ran reliably. With Nico and I covering 79 laps between us, it was a superb job by the team."

Rosberg meanwhile ran in the morning and he completed 39 tours, his best a 1m 13.543s, around six tenths off his team-mate.

"It was a good first day of testing for us and my initial impressions of the new car are very positive. It felt great to be in the car for the first time and to get our pre-season testing programme underway," he added.

"Generally everything felt good although I was sitting too low in the car and couldn't see the track very well which we will improve for tomorrow. It's too early to get an initial impression of the competitiveness but it was very special to drive the new Silver Arrow out of the garage. I'm looking forward to tomorrow now when we have a full day of testing to make further progress."

Rosberg will test all day on Tuesday, with Schumacher returning to action for the third and final day on Wednesday.