Formula One 2014-style got off to a shaky start at Jerez today, after launches by Mercedes and Red Bull respectively in the morning.
It was Ferrari’s Kimi Raikkonen who laid down an early marker for the rest of the field, the Finn lapping in a 1:27:104 in the Ferrari F14T and completing 31 laps after a telemetery error forced him to stop on track early in the morning. The interruption prevented him challenging early pacesetter Lewis Hamilton in the Mercedes MGPW05, but the Briton experienced a repeat of his testing accident twelve months ago when his front wing broke off and pitched him into the wall at turn one.
“It’s unfortunate to end the day early when everyone has worked so hard.” said the 2008 World Champion.
“But we’ll make that track time back and it’s better to have these things happen now than in Melbourne. The car feels quite good, especially considering it’s so early in our programme. Overall it’s been a positive day.”
Caterham had planned to launch their car early in the morning, but technical problems forced them to delay the CT05’s debut until late afternoon, meaning rookie Swede Marcus Ericsson only managed a single installation lap before the day was over.
Likewise Red Bull and Sebastian Vettel, who blamed overnight problems for the German’s meagre three lap run at the death, failing to register a flying time but still achieving more than McLaren, who couldn’t get Jenson Button out at all after a dearth of hydraulic and electric gremlins crippled the MP4/29.
Esteban Gutierrez and Sergio Perez both had interrupted days at the wheel of the Sauber and Force India cars respectively, with the former McLaren man coming out on top in the battle of the Mexicans who sandwiched Toro Rosso’s Jean Eric Vergne in 5th place. Vergne racked up a respectable 15 laps before a technical issue saw him coast to a halt on track. Valtteri Bottas was one of the last men out on track in the all-blue Williams FW36, but he still managed 3rd fastest time behind Raikkonen and Hamilton.
Gutierrez was the only driver to sample the regular Pirelli rubber on offer, while the other competitors stuck to the winter spec Italian rubber.
TIMES – JEREZ DAY ONE 28th January 2014
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