Sebastian Vettel has got his first official test day as a Ferrari driver off to a solid start by topping the timesheets on the opening day of pre-season testing at the Jerez circuit in Spain.

The German clocked a 1:22.620 before the end of the day – a time already quicker than the fastest pre-season test time from last year – finishing one-tenth of a second quicker than Sauber’s Marcus Ericsson.

The day got off to a leisurely start for the Scuderia and its brand new SF15-T, but the German gradually picked up the pace and managed to overhaul the day’s long-time leader, Mercedes’ Nico Rosberg. His best time came on the Pirelli Medium tyres, while Ericsson’s effort was posted on the Softs, although the Swede might be kicking himself for an untidy final sector which stopped him from finishing the day on top.

Rosberg was bundled down to third-fastest, but the lap times would prove irrelevant when compared to the lap tally managed by each car. Here the championship runner-up was serenely in front with 157 laps – more than two race distances – in the Mercedes F1W06 Hybrid.

Daniel Ricciardo finished the day fourth-fastest in his camouflaged Red Bull Racing RB11, no doubt relieved that the Milton Keynes team’s new car appeared to have far fewer teething troubles than its predecessor at the same point in the pre-season. That being said, the Australian still had one alarm, forced to pit a few hours in with smoke coming out the back of his car.

Half a second slower than Ricciardo was Williams’ Valtteri Bottas, who missed much of the morning’s action before making up with it thanks to a trouble-free afternoon that saw him amass 73 laps.

F1 rookie Carlos Sainz Jr had his maiden outing in the new Toro Rosso STR10 and finished the day 2.7 seconds off the pace. He was forced to stop the car along the back straight of the circuit with an hour of the day’s running to go.

Valtteri Bottas missed a chunk of the morning’s action as Williams prepared its FW37, but made up for the delay to complete 73 laps – putting him level with Ericsson on the mileage charts.

Toro Rosso handed Carlos Sainz Jr. the first day in the STR10, which went smoothly until it ground to a halt along the back straight with an hour remaining. His stoppage triggered the day’s second red flag – it was a day of remarkably few incidents – with the first caused by Ericsson when he had a spun in the first sector early on.

Fernando Alonso finished slowest of the day’s seven runners – Lotus was late arriving to the circuit with its new E23 chassis – and managed just six largely exploratory laps before a technical problem ground the Honda-powered car to a halt. It was not a good start for the team and engine supplier’s remarriage.

2015 Formula 1 Pre-Season Test – Jerez Day 1 Results:

Driver Team / Entry Time Gap Laps
1. Sebastian Vettel Scuderia Ferrari SF15-T 1:22.620 60
2. Marcus Ericsson Sauber F1 Team Ferrari C34 1:22.777 + 0.157 73
3. Nico Rosberg Mercedes AMG Petronas F1W06 Hybrid 1:23.106 + 0.486 157
4. Daniel Ricciardo Infiniti Red Bull Racing Renault RB11 1:23.338 + 0.718 35
5. Valtteri Bottas Williams Martini Racing Mercedes FW37 1:23.906 + 1.286 73
6. Carlos Sainz Jr Scuderia Toro Rosso Renault STR10 1:25.327 + 2.707 46
7. Fernando Alonso McLaren Honda MP4-30 1:40.738 + 18.118 6

Imagevia XPB Images

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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.