Date: 13th February 2012 at 11:16am
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The first Formula One test of the season in Jerez came to an end in Spain and over the weekend the teams assessed their performance, while everyone else tried to guess who will be pleased.

They all put in the miles around the 2.75mile circuit in Andalusia, Spain, with Bruno Senna completing nearly 700 miles in his new Williams Renault.

As we have explained on Vital F1 before, testing, especially the first few days, isn’t really about times, it’s more about running the cars, checking everything is working as expected, working on set-ups and analysing the new tyres which have been manufactured by Pirelli for a second season.

This point was hammered home by the fact that the fastest car over the four days was Nico Rosberg, who set a time of 1minute 17.613seconds in LAST YEARS Mercedes.

Rosberg and team-mate Michael Schumacher, split Mercedes running time equally with both German drivers running 174 laps each, with Schumacher ending the testing session 0.948 seconds behind Rosberg.

That time by the former seven-time F1 champion was actually good enough to be the third fastest driver over the four days, with Romain Grosjean Lotus [Renault] splitting the 2011 blown diffuser spec Mercedes on day three [his first day] with a time of 1minute 18.419seconds, which beat the returning 2007 Formula One World champion Kimi Raikkonen, who had impressed over the first two days by 1.251seconds.

Double F1 World champion Fernando Alonso was the second quickest driver over the four days in a 2012 spec car.

His Ferrari team had been disappointed following the first three days, with handling becoming an issue, but on the final day, Ferrari took some strides forward with the development of their new aggressive machine.

Alonso might have only got within 0.458 seconds of Grosjean, but it was enough to get ahead of the rest of the competition despite completing a modest 106 laps.

Mark Webber narrowly edged out reigning champion Sebastian Vettel amongst the Red Bull drivers, with the pair completing a near total of 300 laps with the new RB8.

Interestingly they were closely matched by Lewis Hamilton in the new McLaren with only 0.280seconds separating the 2008 Formula One champion from the two Red Bull’s.

2009 Formula One World Champion Jenson Button had a much more modest couple of days during the first half of the testing sessions, as did Felipe Massa for Ferrari with their times well adrift in comparison, although neither driver will be overly concerned.

So what does everyone think?

VitalF1.com Part 2 – First test ends in Jerez

 

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