Nico Rosberg and Mercedes GP emerged quickest in a rain-soaked opening day of pre-season testing at Jerez, and became the first driver to end Ferrari’s domination of pre-season testing.

With rain forecast to impact on at least two days of the four scheduled this week in Spain, the ten teams present were limited to just an hour’s dry running before the rain tipped down.

Mark Webber was the first runner to hit the circuit in the recently-launched Red Bull RB6, but his ambitions of racking up a decent amount of mileage in the new car came to little when his car ground to a halt just after midday with an oil leak. He wouldn’t rejoin until just before 5pm, after much work by his mechanics which involved removing the car’s floor.

Sébastien Buemi and Nico Hülkenberg moved Toro Rosso and Williams – respectively – up the timesheets ahead of the pace-setting Ferrari which, with Fernando Alonso at the wheel was almost 2 seconds of Rosberg’s quickest lap time.

Kamui Kobayashi, Jenson Button, Vitantonio Liuzzi and Vitaly Petrov filled positions 5th to 8th. McLaren ran with an ugly sensor fitted to the left-hand side of the cockpit; the device was measuring the airflow to compare the team’s CFD design with actual on-track airflow results, McLaren confirmed.

Another example of function over form, perhaps!

Virgin Racing made their first-ever public on-track appearance as Timo Glock emerged from the pits after lunchtime for a single installation lap, and then re-emerged in the final hour for a few cautious laps. With the track soaked, his five timed laps were miles off the pace.

Hülkenberg completed a mammoth 118 laps

Ferrari’s reign at the top of the timesheets ended

Kobayashi sampled the Sauber C29 in the wet

Buemi vaulted to second-quickest in the dry

Glock’s on-track debut was delayed

Liuzzi racked up over 70 laps in the Force India.

Vitaly Petrov’s Renault ran with a gurney flap.

John Booth made his F1 pitwall debut

Wednesday’s testing times:

1. Nico Rosberg Mercedes GP 1:20.927 (57 laps)
2. Sébastien Buemi Toro Rosso Ferrari 1:21.031 (84)
3. Nico Hülkenberg Williams Cosworth 1:22.234 (118)
4. Fernando Alonso Ferrari 1:22.895 (88)
5. Kamui Kobayashi Sauber Ferrari 1:23.287 (55)
6. Jenson Button McLaren Mercedes 1:24.987 (68)
7. Vitantonio Liuzzi Force India Mercedes 1:24.968 (71)
8. Vitaly Petrov Renault 1:25.440 (27)
9. Mark Webber Red Bull Renault 1:25.502 (50)
10. Timo Glock Virgin Racing Cosworth 1:38.734 (5)

[Images via ITV-F1]

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Richard Bailey

Founder & Chief Editor at MotorsportM8
Hasn't missed a Grand Prix since 1989. Has a soft spot for Minardi. Tattooed with 35+ Grand Prix circuits.