Massa quickest on Day 1 at Jerez

Felipe Massa topped the time sheets on the opening day of this week's pre-season test at Jerez.

In a positive display of Ferrari's potential pace, the Brazilian set the fastest time - a 1m20.709s, on the seventh lap of his first run in the car. Completing over 100 laps for the day, Massa undertook one more long run in the afternoon but spent most of his time inside the 1m23-24s bracket and remained over 1.5s slower than his quickest lap.

Felipe Massa, Scuderia Ferrari .
Photo by xpb.cc.

Completing a good day for Sauber, Sergio Perez set the second-fastest time with a 1m21.483s - which came on the first flying lap of an eight-lap stint. Opting not to simulate long runs on a heavy fuel load, the Mexican never ran for any longer than eight laps at any one time during the day and caused the first red flag of the day when he stopped on the back of the circuit - the result of the team's plan for the car to run out of fuel.

Undertaking driving duties today and tomorrow, Mark Webber's best, a 1m21.522s, was only good enough for third but more encouraging for the Aussie was that it was set in the middle of his first six lap stint behind the wheel. Focusing more on longer runs, the Red Bull RB7 demonstrated it's potential by setting a consistent pace over longer runs during the remainder of the day.

Fourth fastest for Torro Rosso, Daniel Ricciardo lapped regularly in and around the 1m23s before dipping into a 1m21.755s for his best time of the day.

Deputing the MP4-26, Lewis Hamilton concentrated mainly on short runs for McLaren and despite his lap times fluctuating between 1m23-24s, his fastest was set on a single-lap run. Completing 58 laps, the 2008 champion demonstrated untapped potential in the new car by ending the day fifth on a 1m21.914s lap.

Stepping into the Torro Rosso for the afternoon session, Jaime Alguersuari finished up sixth on a 1m22.689s lap - nearly a second off Ricciardo's best earlier in the day. Mainly sticking to a series of five-lap stints, the Spaniard was fairly consistent, lapping around the1m22s mark.

Mirroring the gremlins the team experienced on Tuesday with the online launch of their 2011 car, Force India failed to make an initially encouraging start, yet by the end of the day, Adrian Sutil had completed 28 laps with a best of 1m23.472s, good enough for seventh.

Most of Vitaly Petrov's morning was spent completing back-to-back installation laps for Renault before settling into the 1m24s range. Despite causing a red flag by spinning into the Turn 1 gravel late in the day, the Russian ended up eighth with a 1m23.504s lap.

For Mercedes, it was another day of failing to give any indication about potential as Nico Rosberg varied his lap times between 1m24s and 1m26s on his longest run of the day. Significantly, the German set his fastest lap - a 1m23.963s, on the third of a 17 lap stint, while running a significant fuel load. Rosberg was also a cause of a red flag later in the day courtesy of a gearbox problem.

Jarno Trulli completed 54 laps for Team Lotus, a 1m24.458s lap good enough for tenth overall as the team concentrated on shorter runs later in the day.

Debuting the Marussia Virgin Racing MVR-02, Timo Glock completed 42 laps but spent most of the day in and around the 1m25s range, ending the day eleventh quickest, with a time of 1m25.086s.

A frustrating day for Williams saw rookie Pastor Maldonado complete a mere 14 laps as the team endured problems with the car's rear wing actuator in the morning. Despite managing just a handful of short stints in the afternoon, Maldonado's best lap of 1m34.968s was not a true reflection of the cars ultimate pace.