Räikkönen fastest on opening test day

Räikkönen fastest on opening test day

28 January 2014 – Kimi Räikkönen marked his return to Ferrari by setting the pace on the opening day of pre-season testing at Jerez. The Finn delivered a best time of 1:27.104 to lead Mercedes rival Lewis Hamilton, the victim of a high speed accident, by seven tenths of a second.

As had been anticipated ahead of the test, the first day was full of technical gremlins, with teams attempting to get to grips with the new turbocharged V6 engines and the subsidiary elements that partner them.

This was highlighted by McLaren's failure to complete any running due to suspected electrical issues, while Red Bull only sent Sebastian Vettel out on-track in the final 15 minutes, during which a brief rain shower hit.

Hamilton avoided any such drama early on, gradually improving his benchmark to a 1:27.820, but he hit also trouble in the afternoon when his car suffered an apparent front wing failure en route to the Turn 1 barriers.

The Brackley-based outfit was left with no choice but to cut short its day as a result of the crash, and engineers appear to be in a race against time to get the car repaired in time for the beginning of tomorrow's session.

Räikkönen, who was the cause of the first red flag period when he ground to a halt along the back straight, put together a solid stint in the closing stages of the day to surpass Hamilton's effort by 0.716 seconds, while the former World Champion also brought his lap total up to 31, comfortably more than any other driver.

Valtteri Bottas made a later-than-planned appearance in the FW36 chassis to finish the day third fastest, ahead of Force India's Sergio Pérez and Toro Rosso driver Jean-Éric Vergne, who also signalled red flag phases.

Sauber's Esteban Gutiérrez was the last driver to post a lap time, completing the top six in the process.

The aforementioned Vettel and Formula 1 rookie Marcus Ericsson – whose Caterham team also suffered lengthy delays getting its new CT05 prepared – were the only other drivers to venture out, both failing to post times.

Pre-season testing at the Circuito de Jerez continues at 9am local time (GMT +1) on Wednesday

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