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Stumbling start to pre-season testing

Tuesday 28-January-2014 16:07

Day One at Jerez did not get off to a flying start with four red flags, a crash for Lewis Hamilton, a P1 for Kimi Raikkonen and no sign of McLaren.

Minutes before pre-season testing got underway at Jerez on Tuesday morning, backmarkers Marussia announced that they would not make the first day due to a "small but frustrating technical issue."

Shortly after Caterham stated that they were running behind schedule and would not launch their new car as scheduled.

That left just eight teams in the running although only three; Mercedes, Ferrari and Toro Rosso; actually turned a wheel in the first two hours despite the teams saying prior to testing that track time was vital given the new regulations.

Lewis Hamilton put in the year's first lap and was later joined by Kimi Raikkonen. However, the Finn's Ferrari return did not get off to the best of starts.

Raikkonen broke down at the back end of the circuit with Ferrari insisting it was a "precautionary stop by engineers."

The 2007 World Champ, though, wasn't the only driver to bring out the red flags.

A few minutes after the track went 'green', Sergio Perez, making his Force India debut, stopped out on track.

After another wait for the marshals to bring his VJM07 back to the pits, Hamilton again ventured out for another short run. And this time he set a lap time.

The Brit posted a 1:33.305 before lowering that to a 1:29.662 and then a 1:27.621.

That, though, was the end of his morning as the Mercedes driver crashed into the barriers at Turn 1 causing a fair bit of damage on the W05.

"A car failure for Lewis put him off at Turn One," tweeted Mercedes.

The team later confirmed that is was a "front wing failure" and that it meant their day ended after just four hours of running.

Once the track was again green, Raikkonen headed out, putting in his first timed lap of the day, a 1:32.917 which he steadily bettered to a 1:29.474.

That put the Ferrari driver second on the board, 1.654s down on Hamiltons' time, while Vergne was third ahead of Sauber's Esteban Gutierrez.

Another car joined the action with two hours to go as Caterham finally launched - a few hours late - and rookie driver Marcus Ericsson was quickly out on track.

The running, though, was again halted this time for Vergne stopping out on track.

A six-minute and the action was back on but there was still no sign of Red Bull, McLaren or Williams despite all three being at the circuit with their new cars in hand.

Valtteri Bottas finally emerged with an hour remaining in the day's play but pitted after just one lap.

That left just Raikkonen on track and the Finn made the most of the clean running as he posted a 1:28 and then a 1:27.104 to hit the front of the timesheets by 0.716s ahead of Hamilton.

And although there was a brief rain shower than one initially thought would end the session it was very brief and once it ended Sebastian Vettel finally put in three lap in his new RB10 while Bottas added a few more to his FW32's tally. Bottas also posted a time, a 1:30.082, to go third quickest.

Times
01 K Raikkonen Ferrari 1:27.104 31 laps
02 L Hamilton Mercedes 1:27.820 +0.716 18 laps
03 V Bottas Williams 1:30.082 +2.262 5 laps
04 S Perez Force India 1:33.161 +6.057 9 laps
05 JE Vergne Toro Rosso 1:36.530 +9.426 15 laps
06 E Gutierrez Sauber 1:42.257 +15.153 7 laps
07 S Vettel Red Bull No Time 3 laps
08 M Ericsson Caterham No Time 1 lap

Related Links
Gallery: Day One Of Testing
Hamilton Crashes His W05 At Jerez

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