Sebastian Vettel has played down his top time on the first day of F1 testing in Jerez as he marked his much anticipated Ferrari debut in positive form.

The German shrugged off teething issues on his SF15-T to surge to the top of the timesheets just after the half-way mark, improving his benchmark later on to finish the day a comfortable tenth up on second place Marcus Ericsson.

A strong opening for the four-time champion, who switches to Ferrari after six seasons with Red Bull Racing, the German was certainly pleased to have his name up top once again but insists lap times this early in the year mean relatively little.

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"Lap times are not that important in the end" he said. "It is better to be closer to the front than a long way behind but I think in terms of laps there is a lot of improvement that we can do.

"We didn't run an awful lot today, but what we did I think felt as good as a starting point. For more, I don't want to say because it is too early for that."

Facing the media for the first time since joining the Scuderia, Vettel admits he comes to Ferrari motivated by the challenges that it represents.

"It is a new challenge," he continued. "I feel very motivated but I am not sitting here saying that last year I was down and therefore not performing, I was giving everything I had.

"Last year was a difficult year, there was plenty of work and therefore we might not have had more time to joke and laugh about as usual, but I think starting off this year is a different story."