Vettel fastest in first test of 2011

World champion Sebastian Vettel set the fastest time on the opening day of Formula 1 pre-season testing at Valencia

Vettel fastest in first test of 2011

Eleven of the 12 teams hit the track today (with Lotus joining tomorrow) and the Red Bull, McLaren and Ferrari spent much of the day around the frontrunning pace.

Vettel was first to dip below the 1m14s barrier this afternoon and his only company there was Force India's Nico Hulkenberg. The German took the early stint in the team's interim car and matched the quick-lap pace of the leading teams. His average longer-run times were more than a second slower though.

Gary Paffett ended the day third-quickest for McLaren, jumping Ferrari and Fernando Alonso 45 minutes before the end. Paul di Resta took over the Force India for the afternoon's running and promptly made his way up the timesheet as well, relegating Alonso to fifth.

Alonso brought the day to a slightly premature end when his Ferrari stopped out on track at Turn 3 with just a couple of minutes remaining. The session was red-flagged while he restarted and cruised back to the pits, and time had expired by the time he arrived.

Kamui Kobayashi was sixth for Sauber, running for 68 laps, while Jerome D'Ambrosio kept an impressive pace earlier in the day as the interim Virgin car completed 71 laps.

While those teams running 2010 cars had largely trouble-free and competitive days, there were a few teething troubles for some of the new cars.

Mercedes was the first casualty of the day when Nico Rosberg stopped on the start/finish straight with a hydraulic leak. Michael Schumacher brought the repaired car back out later in the afternoon to complete 15 laps. Schumacher's best time of the day was a 1m16.450s, while the best of Rosberg's nine laps was a 1m19.930s.

Renault made a slow start to 2011 with Vitaly Petrov doing just six laps before a long break for the R31 - featuring a radical design with the exhausts exiting the car at the front of the sidepods. He too was back out later for another 22 laps.

Toro Rosso also took a long break from running while extensive checks were made to its car, Jaime Alguersuari eventually finishing 10th on a 1m17.214s.

Williams had a delay early on as well, due to a problem with its KERS, but Rubens Barrichello had done 78 laps by the end of the day - the best of them a 1m17.335s.

Narain Karthikeyan completed the runners on his first day in an HRT, doing 45 laps and a best of 1m18.020s in the team's 2010 car.

Pos Driver Car Time Gap Laps 1. Sebastian Vettel Red Bull-Renault* 1m13.769s 93 2. Nico Hulkenberg Force India-Mercedes 1m13.938s + 0.169s 71 3. Gary Paffett McLaren-Mercedes 1m14.292s + 0.523s 91 4. Paul di Resta Force India-Mercedes 1m14.461s + 0.692s 28 5. Fernando Alonso Ferrari* 1m14.553s + 0.784s 97 6. Kamui Kobayashi Sauber-Ferrari* 1m15.621s + 1.852s 68 7. Jerome D'Ambrosio Virgin-Cosworth 1m16.003s + 2.234s 71 8. Vitaly Petrov Renault* 1m16.351s + 2.582s 28 9. Michael Schumacher Mercedes* 1m16.450s + 2.681s 15 10. Jaime Alguersuari Toro Rosso-Ferrari* 1m17.214s + 3.445s 19 11. Rubens Barrichello Williams-Cosworth* 1m17.335s + 3.566s 77 12. Narain Karthikeyan HRT-Cosworth 1m18.020s + 4.251s 45 13. Nico Rosberg Mercedes* 1m19.930s + 6.161s 9 All timing unofficial * 2011 car 
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