Vettel Tops Day One at Drying Jerez

Ross MessingerCorrespondent IFebruary 17, 2010

JEREZ DE LA FRONTERA, SPAIN - FEBRUARY 17:  Sebastian Vettel of Germany and Red Bull Racing drives during winter testing at the Circuito De Jerez on February 17, 2010 in Jerez de la Frontera, Spain.  (Photo by Mark Thompson/Getty Images)
Mark Thompson/Getty Images

Sebastian Vettel topped the timesheets during a wet-dry first day of the third preseason test in Spain.

Wednesday saw a disrupted session with a grand total of five red flags, two of which were caused by Rubens Barrichello, the Brazilian's Williams team apparently struggling with reliability.

Today also marked the first official test outing for the rejuvenated Lotus, with test and reserve driver Fairuz Fauzy at the wheel.

As testing got underway, teams seemed eager for some running, however damp weather meant any meaningful track time was not available. The circuit dried throughout the day, however, and despite some showers, a clear dry line had appeared by the end of day one.

Lewis Hamilton caused the first stoppage, a mere 35 minutes into the morning's running, as his McLaren ground to a halt on track. Little more than four minutes after the session was restarted, Force India's 2010 reserve driver Paul di Resta spun off the circuit, causing the second delay of the day.

Hamilton lead proceedings early on, before Red Bull's Sebastian Vettel began a trend of fastest laps, culminating in an overall best of 1m22.593s.

It wasn't until late in the session that other drivers began to challenge him, with Hamilton managing a 1m23.017s with four minutes to go, nearly half a second off the German's best.

Felipe Massa had a quiet day, the Ferrari driver suffering an apparent mechanical problem causing a red flag, which put him out of action for two hours during a crucial dry spell over lunchtime. The Brazilian's best time of 1m23.204s was enough to put him third however, a tenth off Toro Rosso's Sebastian Buemi.

Pedro de la Rosa and Michael Schumacher were a solid fifth and sixth, the latter completing the day's highest number of laps with 111.

Virgin only completed 10 laps with Timo Glock at the wheel, the reasons for which are unknown. Despite being over 9 seconds off Vettel's fastest attempts, Lotus's Fairuz Fauzy had an impressive day, with things looking promising for the Malaysian squad.

Unofficial testing times from Jerez day 1:

1 Vettel Red Bull 1m22.593s
2 Hamilton McLaren 1m23.017s +0.424
3 Massa Ferrari 1m23.204s +0.611
4 Buemi Toro Rosso 1m23.322s +0.729
5 De la Rosa Sauber 1m23.367s +0.774
6 Schumacher Mercedes 1m23.803s +1.210
7 Sutil Force India 1m24.272s +1.679
8 Di Resta Force India 1m25.088s +2.495
9 Petrov Renault 1m26.237s +3.644
10 Barrichello Williams 1m27.320s +4.727
11 Fauzy Lotus 1m31.848s +9.255
12 Glock Virgin 1m34.453s +11.860