Date: 2nd May 2012 at 8:56am
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The opening day of testing at the Italian circuit of Mugello was disrupted by rain.

Early morning showers allowed the teams to get some running on a slowly drying track, but more rain at lunchtime and torrential rain in the afternoon limited running during the afternoon.

At one stage during the deluge, conditions prevented the emergency helicopter from taking off safely due to the low light, which forced the closure of the track during that period.

In essence the afternoon session was a write-off for the teams who would have been set to run through particular test programmes and testing possible new upgrades.

During the morning session, which did see some competitive times on the slowly drying track, Ferrari’s Fernando Alonso topped the timing sheets.

He set a time of 1minute 22.444s, which turned out to be over a second faster than anyone else all day.

Mark Webber for Red Bull got within 1.3seconds of Alonso to go second quickest, Jean-Eric Vergne for Toro Rosso was third fastest with all the drivers enjoying the Mugello circuit.

1. Fernando Alonso [Ferrari] 1m22.444s

2. Mark Webber [Red Bull] + 1.204s

3. Jean-Eric Vergne [Toro Rosso] + 1.447s

4. Jerome d’Ambrosio [Lotus] + 1.604s

5. Nico Rosberg [Mercedes] + 1.656s

6. Kamui Kobayashi [Sauber] + 2.292s

7. Oliver Turvey [McLaren] + 2.859s

8. Jules Bianchi [Force India] + 3.031s

9. Rodolfo Gonzalez [Caterham] + 4.753s

10. Charles Pic [Marussia] + 4.915s

11. Valtteri Bottas [Williams] + 6.735s

12. Gary Paffett [McLaren] + 28.454s

13. Michael Schumacher [Mercedes] No time

Speaking to Sky Sports after the first test day had come to a close, Alonso said: ‘It’s a shame about the rain, which complicated the running of this first day of testing and a shame for the spectators who deserved to see more of a show,’

‘We had a pretty busy work programme, but we only managed to get through a part of it. Therefore, it’s impossible to give a serious evaluation, especially as we did so little dry running. I can only say that, for me, it was a pleasure to be driving at this track again: the first and only other time was back in 2001, when I was testing for Minardi. It’s a spectacular track and it would be nice to be able to race on it!’


Red Bull’s Mark Webber added: ‘Obviously, the weather wasn’t great today, so we didn’t get to do much running in the dry. Really, we only got one decent run on the slicks. Then it rained after lunch and with limited sets of wets available, you can’t do that much. We’re hoping for better over the next couple of days.

‘It’s an important test. We have a lot of information to gather and, while today didn’t quite work out as expected, I’m optimistic that over the course of the next few days we’ll get the information we need. I have to say this is a fantastic track. It’s very challenging for the driver and very quick. I don’t know if we’ll ever race here in the future, you never know, but to see the crowd here today was very special. A lot of people came to watch and that’s great.’


Toro Rosso’s Jean-Eric Vergne said: ‘This is my first ever visit to Mugello and I have to say, despite the weather, I enjoyed my time on the circuit as it is a really fantastic track to drive. The car felt fine for the few dry laps I completed, but from a technical point of view, there is not much to say, because although we have a full programme to work through, the rain meant we will have to wait until tomorrow to start assessing some of the new elements we have brought here. At one point this morning, I went off the track; I was pushing a bit too hard, spun and got stuck, as the rear wheels were in the gravel. But there was no damage to the car.’