All a blur: Nico Rosberg was quickest overall on the opening day of pre-season testing at Barcelona

Nico Rosberg was the fastest driver as Formula 1’s pre-season testing action resumed. With the field moving to Barcelona’s Circuit de Catalunya after a four-day stint at Jerez, the German narrowly edged out Lotus’ Kimi Räikkönen by seven-thousandths of a second with a late flying effort.

The day also saw the maiden appearances of two key players in the 2013 season. After skipping the first test session to embark on a major fitness schedule, Fernando Alonso had his very first drive in Ferrari’s F138, while Williams took its new FW35 out on its first serious outing after launching its new car in the morning.

Alonso had his first taste of the Ferrari F138, finishing third-fastest Pastor Maldonado took the Williams FW35 for its first serious outing

With Europe still in the grips of winter, conditions at the Montmeló venue were cold and partly cloudy for much of the day, giving the teams the extra challenge of keeping the tyres’ temperatures up on the abrasive track surface.

The morning began quietly for many teams as they dialled in their cars and ironed out any technical gremlins. Red Bull Racing was one such team to encounter problems, with Sebastian Vettel temporarily sidelined by a software issue with his gearbox.

Vettel set the pace for much of the dayThe German would get underway again in the late morning, and almost immediately moved ahead of early pacesetter Pastor Maldonado before the field paused for lunch.

Vettel continued to improve on his times in the afternoon and became the first man to dip below the 1m22s bracket before others followed suit.

A late flying effort from Raikkonen was not enough to topple Rosberg from top spotThe three-time World Champion was deposed from top spot by local hero Alonso, who clocked a quick lap on the Pirelli medium compound tyres.

Alonso was then toppled by Rosberg, who posted two purple sectors to move into top spot with a 1:22.616. Räikkönen tried to respond with his own flying lap effort, falling narrowly short by just seven-thousandths as proceedings were brought to a close.

Behind the top five, Daniel Ricciardo took his Toro Rosso to sixth overall, just managing to edge out Sergio Pérez, whose McLaren lost plenty of track mileage while the team’s mechanics investigated a technical gremlin in the MP4-28.

Paul di Resta was eighth-quickest as Force India spent much of its day focusing on aero and tyre development work. The Scot finished almost a second clear of Sauber rookie Gutiérrez, who triggered a red flag in the morning as the team simulated an ‘out of fuel’ stoppage.

Caterham’s Charles Pic was another driver to trigger a full-course stoppage when his CT03 ground to a halt in the afternoon. The Frenchman finished slowest on the timesheets, with his stoppage allowing Marussia rookie Max Chilton to move into tenth-fastest with his best effort coming on Pirelli’s soft-compound tyres. Rather more worryingly for both outfits, they appear once again to be well off the pace of the rest of the field…

The testing action continues on Wednesday at 09:00AM CET (GMT +1).

2013 Barcelona Pre-Season Test – Day 1 Session Times:

Driver Team Time Laps Tyre
1. Nico Rosberg DEU Mercedes AMG F1W04 1:22.616 54 M
2. Kimi Räikkönen FIN Lotus F1 Renault E21 + 0.007 44 M
3. Fernando Alonso ESP Scuderia Ferrari F138 + 0.336 110 M
4. Sebastian Vettel DEU Red Bull Racing Renault RB9 + 0.349 66 M
5. Pastor Maldonado VEN Williams Renault FW35 + 1.117 86 S
6. Daniel Ricciardo AUS Scuderia Toro Rosso Ferrari STR8 + 1.268 73 H
7. Sergio Pérez MEX McLaren Mercedes MP4-28 + 1.508 77 M
8. Paul di Resta GBR Force India Mercedes VJM06 + 1.528 82 M
9. Esteban Gutiérrez MEX Sauber Ferrari C32 + 2.508 68 H
10. Max Chilton GBR Marussia Racing Cosworth MR02 + 4.131 65 S
11. Charles Pic FRA Caterham Renault CT03 + 4.918 49 H

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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.