Rosberg fastest on first day in Barcelona

Rosberg fastest on first day in Barcelona

19 February 2013 – Nico Rosberg was the fastest man on the opening day of the second pre-season test at the Circuit de Catalunya, producing a late effort of 1:22.616 on the Medium Pirelli tyres. The Mercedes driver led Lotus rival Kimi Räikkönen by just seven thousandths of a second, while Ferrari's Fernando Alonso marked his return in third.

A cold but relatively pleasant morning in the north-east of Spain got underway with the launch of the new Williams FW35. As is usually the way with Formula 1, controversy surrounded the car's exhaust layout as the covers were pulled off in the pit lane and governing body the FIA has now allegedly declared illegal along with the concept being used by rivals Caterham.

Away from the technical dramas, the Montmeló venue saw plenty of on-track action. A flurry of late morning laps caused numerous changes at the top of the order, with Sebastian Vettel setting the pace for most of the day. However, recovering from gearbox troubles in the morning session, a late run from Rosberg ended his fellow German's reign over the field.

Räikkönen's Jerez form has evidently carried over to this week's test, with the Finn looking at ease behind the wheel of the E21. Just behind the 2007 World Champion, Alonso completed the largest lap total of the day, circulating 110 times on his way to third, while Vettel, Pastor Maldonado and Daniel Ricciardo completed the top six. Sergio Pérez finished seventh after a slightly more challenging day, with the McLaren driver being confined to his garage for most of the morning due to technical issues.

A little further back, Paul di Resta concentrated on aero and tyre evaluations at the wheel of the VJM06 chassis. The Scotsman will be making way for Adrian Sutil and Jules Bianchi later in the week, with the pair both in contention for the vacant seat at the team. Sauber's Esteban Gutiérrez, who caused a brief red flag period in the morning with a fuel run-dry test, wound up just under a second behind in ninth place.

Marussia's Max Chilton led the battle at the back of the field, posting a time of 1:26.747 to lead rival Charles Pic by a comfortable margin of 0.787 seconds. The Briton's cause was helped by the fact that the Caterham driver stopped on-track in the early hours of the afternoon, coming to a halt on the exit of Turn 2 with a mechanical issue.

Pre-season testing continues at the Circuit de Catalunya at 9am local time (GMT +1) on Wednesday and can be followed via the GPUpdate.net Live Report feature

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