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Vettel tops day one of testing

Sky Sports logo Sky Sports 18-05-2016
Sebastian Vettel's time would not have been enough to improve on his grid position. © Alex Caparros/Getty Images Sebastian Vettel's time would not have been enough to improve on his grid position.

Sebastian Vettel topped the times on the opening day of the in-season test at the Circuit de Cataluyna as Ferrari went in search of qualifying pace. 

The Scuderia were bemused to find themselves relegated to the third row of the grid for the Spanish GP, behind both Mercedes cars and both Red Bulls, and used the test as an attempt to learn lessons from Saturday.

"The German worked on a programme which concentrated on qualifying simulation. After the difficulties encountered at this track last Saturday, the Scuderia chose to look at that particular area of performance," said Ferrari.

Lapping at a similar time of day and on soft tyres as was the case on Saturday, Vettel found just over one tenth of improvement from his time in qualifying, posting a 1:23.220. However, that time would not have been enough to improve on his grid position.

"It is a unique chance to test straight after the grand prix at the same track in more or less the same conditions. It is not a big secret that Saturday we struggled a bit so we tried some stuff, we need to have a good look but it is not the only thing we are here for today," Vettel told Sky Sports.

Nico Rosberg, returning to the cockpit for the first time since his first-lap clash with Lewis Hamilton, was second quickest for Mercedes and completed 119 laps - the most of any team.

Vettel and Renault's Esteban Ocon were the only other drivers to complete a century of laps. The Frenchman will switch from yellow to silver on day two as he takes over from Rosberg in the Mercedes W07.

Williams caught the eye as they ran modified front and rear wings to replicate the levels of downforce expected in 2017 as part of a morning of data gathering, before switching their focus to Monaco in the afternoon.

Development driver and GP2 frontrunner Alex Lynn was at the wheel and completed 86 laps for Williams.

"I think we had a really positive day. We've run through everything, and probably more than we ever anticipated on the programme," said Lynn.

"We've had a lot of good running for the team in terms of the next few races, and got some good information."

McLaren showed good pace during the morning session with Jenson Button leading the way at lunch. He finished the day third quickest, despite the team saying they focussed on Monaco work.

"Today's power unit run programme consisted mainly of race set-up for the Monaco Grand Prix next weekend," said Honda's Satoshi Nakamura.

"The street circuit of Monaco has many slow corners which require stability in the engine's low-revving range, so we focused on its driveability and the various modes of the power unit to bring out its full potential. Our plan is to continue to run similarly tomorrow."

The next driver on the Red Bull junior conveyor belt is Pierre Gasly, and he was at the wheel for Toro Rosso, finishing the day seventh quickest.

"Unfortunately at the end of the day, when we were just about to go for some performance runs on soft tyres, we had a little issue, so we had to end the day a bit earlier than planned," said the Frenchman.

"But I'm still pleased, as we could anyhow complete many laps today, which is always important for me to gain experience. 

A late run on the ultrasoft tyres catapulted Alfonso Celis Jr to eighth in the Force India, having spent most of the day at the bottom of the timesheets.

Interestingly, reliability was not an issue during the eight hours of running, with the session unaffected by red flags.

The test concludes on Wednesday, with the green flag at 8am BST. See the driver line-up here.

Barcelona in-season test - Day One

1. Sebastian Vettel, Ferrari, 1:23.220, 103 laps

2. Nico Rosberg, Mercedes, 1:23.337, 119 laps

3. Jenson Button, McLaren, 1:23.753, 86 laps

4. Romain Grosjean, Haas, 1:23.882, 96 laps

5. Pascal Wehrlein, Manor, 1:24.297, 86 laps

6. Daniel Ricciardo, Red Bull, 1:24.307, 89 laps

7. Pierre Gasly, Toro Rosso, 1:24.821, 78 laps

8. Alfonso Celis Jr, Force India, 1:24.821, 99 laps

9. Alex Lynn, Williams, 1:26.071, 86 laps

10. Esteban Ocon, Renault, 1:26.530, 105 laps

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