Feb 9 Formula One world champion Sebastian
Vettel drove his new Red Bull for the first time on Thursday
with the team saying they were on course to tick all the right
boxes in pre-season testing at Jerez.
Spain's Fernando Alonso finally got his hands on his new
Ferrari as well but the Italian team were far less happy with
the data coming from the F2012 on day three at the southern
McLaren's Lewis Hamilton sounded cautiously optimistic after
his first day of testing following team mate Jenson Button's
stint in the car while Brazilian Bruno Senna marked his Williams
debut by doing more laps than anyone else.
"It's been two months since we were in the car so it does
take a couple of laps to get back in the rhythm, but the car
feels fine and as we expected," said Vettel, who was second
fastest of those in the new cars.
Germany's Nico Rosberg topped the timesheets in last year's
Mercedes, with Frenchman Romain Grosjean second quickest in the
"So far we can be happy. We had a couple of issues but it's
normal when the car is new," said Vettel.
Red Bull's head of race engineering, Ian Morgan, said the
penultimate day had gone well.
"Sebastian's first day in the car went almost perfectly," he
declared. "Tomorrow's programme will be more of the same. We're
on course to tick off all the things we wanted to get done and
we hope we can complete the list tomorrow."
Ferrari, with plenty of Spanish fans in evidence on double
champion Alonso's first day in the car, were still wrestling
with setup problems.
"I am not happy with where we are at the moment," said
technical director Pat Fry after Alonso did 67 laps and was
seventh fastest. "I think there is a lot of room for us to
improve from where we are."
Hamilton covered 80 laps and 354km in the MP4-27 and said
his initial feelings were "pretty positive".
"There were no nasty surprises, which is pleasing," added
the 2008 champion, whose team were struggling at the same stage
"This car's baseline is something we can really work with."
Senna, nephew of the late triple world champion Ayrton who
died after crashing his Williams at the 1994 San Marino Grand
Prix, had a productive first day in the car with 125 laps
completed without any hiccups.
The same could not be said for Force India's French reserve
Jules Bianchi, who brought his team's testing to a halt after
crashing into the tyre barrier in the morning.
The team were unable to get the car back out on track as
they needed fresh parts from Britain, a setback that meant
German race driver Nico Hulkenberg was unable to start his
(Reporting by Alan Baldwin; Editing by Mark Meadows)