Button tops opening day of Jerez test
5 February 2013 – McLaren's Jenson Button ended the opening day of pre-season testing at the Circuito de Jerez as the fastest man, delivering an impressive late effort of 1:18.861 on the Hard Pirelli compound to usurp Red Bull rival Mark Webber. Lotus driver Romain Grosjean, who topped the timesheets for most of the day, finished third.
Typically chilly conditions greeted the Formula 1 paddock for the first test of the year in southern Spain on Tuesday, with Marussia and Caterham's car launches preceding the eagerly anticipated occasion. Ignoring the weather, all 11 drivers in action were quick to venture out onto the Andalusian circuit and set about completing their extensive programmes.
Despite his pace-setting time, Button did not have it all his own way on Tuesday. A fuel-pump issue, which also caused problems for McLaren in 2012, presented itself just three laps into the MP4-28's first fully-fledged run. This brought out the opening red flag of the day and left Button stuck in his pit garage until the afternoon session.
Nico Rosberg was quick to stamp his authority on the field after Button's failure, but a section of bodywork at the rear of the new F1 W04 burst into flames and scuppered his plans for the rest of the day. The German caused the second stoppage at 10am local time (GMT +1), before Mercedes ended its day early to work on a wiring loom fix.
As the day wore on, Rosberg slipped down the order to eighth, with Paul di Resta, Daniel Ricciardo, Felipe Massa – whose new F138 suffered slight overheating issues – and new Sauber driver Nico Hülkenberg locking-out positions four to seven. Pastor Maldonado wound up ninth after his tyre-focused day, completing a total of 84 laps at the wheel of the Williams FW34. The Venezuelan and team-mate Valtteri Bottas will have to wait until the second test to drive their new car.
Giedo van der Garde finished just over three seconds behind Button's MP4-28 in tenth place, while Britain's Max Chilton suffered a suspension failure at the wheel of Marussia's MR02 to bring out the third and final red flag of the day, leaving him 11th.
Pre-season testing continues at the Circuito de Jerez at 9am local time (GMT +1) on Wednesday and can be followed via the GPUpdate.net Live Report feature