Alonso tops rain-affected opening day at Mugello
1 May 2012 – Fernando Alonso ended the first day of the in-season Mugello test as the fastest man, with his morning effort of 1:22.444 enough to hold the top spot amid heavy rainfall at the Italian venue. The Spaniard, who is testing a range of Ferrari upgrades, led Mark Webber by 1.204 seconds, with Jean-Éric Vergne in third place.
After overnight rain, the circuit was soaked as the session got underway at 9am local time (BST +1). This meant that full wet and intermediate tyres were the order of the day, before some braved the slicks as the lunch break drew closer. All of the significant action occurred in the morning, where Alonso came out on top due to a string of late laps. In fact, the weather was so bad in the afternoon that the circuit's emergency helicopter would not have been able to take off, bringing out a red flag.
Webber, who was running with a host of sensors in his RB8, did enough to climb up to second after a quiet start to the morning, edging out possible future replacement Vergne, who caused the first of two red flag periods. Jérôme D'Ambrosio and Nico Rosberg were next up, both having spent time at the top of the timesheets with early efforts. The latter jointly caused the second red flag of the day after stopping at Turn 4, with Alonso coming to a halt at exactly the same time a few corners down the road.
Both men returned to the track successfully later on, before spending most of the afternoon in the comfort of their respective garages. Kamui Kobayashi placed his Sauber sixth, while Oliver Turvey and Jules Bianchi eventually put a string of laps together to secure top ten positions, having spent masses of time in the pit lane at the beginning of the day.
Rodolfo Gonzalez enjoyed his first day at the wheel of Caterham's 2012 machine, having tested for the squad at the Abu Dhabi Young Driver gathering last season. The Venezuelan put in a respectable performance to finish ninth just ahead of Charles Pic, early pace-setter Valtteri Bottas and McLaren's Gary Paffett, while Michael Schumacher made a brief appearance in the afternoon to complete the running order.
In-season testing resumes at 9am local time (BST +1) on Wednesday