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Jerez day one - Rosberg sets the pace at rainy test 10 Feb 2010

Nico Rosberg (GER) Mercedes MGP W01. Formula One Testing, Day One, Jerez, Spain, Wednesday 10 February 2010. Sebastien Buemi (SUI) Scuderia Toro Rosso STR5. Formula One Testing, Day One, Jerez, Spain, Wednesday 10 February 2010. Vitantonio Liuzzi (ITA) Force India F1 VJM03 in the pits. Formula One Testing, Day One, Jerez, Spain, Wednesday 10 February 2010. Fernando Alonso (ESP) Ferrari F10. Formula One Testing, Day One, Jerez, Spain, Wednesday 10 February 2010. Timo Glock (GER) first lap in the Virgin Racing VR-01 Formula One Testing, Day One, Jerez, Spain, Wednesday 10 February 2010.

It may have been forecast, but not one of the ten teams in action welcomed the wet weather that blighted the opening day of the second official pre-season test at Jerez on Wednesday. Mercedes GP’s Nico Rosberg ended the day at the top of the timesheets with a best time of 1m 20.927s around the Spanish circuit, which he set before the rain began to fall.

"The car felt very good today,” said the German. “Compared to Valencia where I was sitting too low which affected my visibility and the set-up wasn't perfect, today I felt really comfortable and I could push so it was an enjoyable day and a good start to the test for me. Our objective here is to learn as much as possible, put miles on the car and engine to check the reliability and to make progress on our set-up work. The rain is a little frustrating but the car feels good to drive and that's what's important."

Just over a tenth down on Rosberg was Sebastien Buemi who took the second slot for Toro Rosso. Buemi spent the day evaluating Bridgestone’s wet tyres and various set-ups. He completed 84 laps and will continue to drive on Thursday. Third went to Williams’ Nico Hulkenberg, who was also the most productive driver of the day after completing 118 laps in the FW32.

Ferrari’s Fernando Alonso finished in fourth in the Italian team’s F10. Alonso, who covered 88 laps, worked on reliability testing and evaluating Bridgestone’s wet tyres. The Spaniard will be back in action on Thursday.

“The work was influenced by the bad weather, but nevertheless we managed to drive many kilometres,” said the Spaniard. “So we’re satisfied, because we could collect lots of data, which is important for the reliability. We hope that the weather is better tomorrow, because it’s important to drive on a dry track, too. The car went very well on the wet track though and it’s easy to drive. The feeling is good, just like on the dry. All in all I had some positive sensations today.”

Kamui Kobayashi clocked the fifth-fastest time for BMW Sauber, finishing over 1.5s ahead of the McLaren of reigning world champion Jenson Button. Kobayashi completed 55 laps in Ferrari-engined C29.

"Sadly the weather conditions were not as we would have liked,” said BMW Sauber’s head of track engineering, Giampaolo Dall'Ara. “Because of this we had to skip some mechanical and aero testing. Most of the time Kamui was running on intermediates. We did some set-up work, system checks and start practice."

Button spent his early dry runs carrying out aerodynamic measurements with instrumentation on the MP4-25 to gauge flow structures. After the rain hit, the team switched to an alternative programme, which included an evaluation of various brake materials in the wet conditions. The British driver completed 67 laps.

Force India’s VJM03 enjoyed a positive debut run, as Vitantonio Liuzzi covered 71 laps on his way to seventh in the times.

“Today was definitely a good beginning to our testing programme,” said the Italian. “It was mainly about getting comfortable in the car, running through the systems. The car was reliable with no big issues, which is a very good starting point. Unfortunately we did just three laps in the dry in the morning before it started to rain. We are however pretty happy with how the day ended and now are looking forward to tomorrow where hopefully the weather will be better.”

Vitaly Petrov took up the eighth slot in Renault’s R30 and completed 27 laps.

"The bad weather meant it was a frustrating day for us as we only managed to complete one dry run this morning on scrubbed tyres,” explained Renault’s chief engineer, Alan Permane. “We then spent some time doing systems checks in the garage and discovered a small problem with the brake system, which we managed to fix by the end of the day. Looking ahead to tomorrow, Robert (Kubica) will be in the car and fortunately the weather forecast looks a lot better."

Mark Webber was charged with giving the newly-launched RB6 its maiden run and completed 47 laps on his way to ninth in the times. The team made good progress, although an oil leak in the late morning led to a precautionary engine change.

“It was great to finally see the car in action after a long winter with no testing,” said Ian Morgan, Red Bull’s head of race engineering. “Everything ran very smoothly this morning and the build of the car was very structured. It’s frustrating that a problem with a simple component late morning forced an engine change later in the day, as it cost us quite a lot of time. However, the most disappointing thing today was the weather - it’s good to have a test in the wet, but it’s not ideal when it’s your first. We’re hoping for better conditions tomorrow when we will continue working through the new car system checks.”

Timo Glock was the day’s tenth - and final - runner for Virgin. Glock’s best in the VR-01 was almost 18 seconds down on fastest man Rosberg’s time, but thanks to some new parts arriving late on Tuesday night, and of course the rain, the German covered just five laps.

“It’s great to be back in the car and to have the chance to open it up a bit around a few full laps of the track,” he said. “It’s early days but I’m encouraged by what I’ve experienced so far and in particular the fact that we haven’t had any reliability issues on the first day of our first proper test. A big ‘thank you’ to all the guys for working through the night. I hope they can get some sleep tonight so we can all start to put the car through its paces tomorrow.”

Testing will continue at Jerez on Thursday.

Unofficial Wednesday times from Jerez:
1. Nico Rosberg, Mercedes GP, 1:20.927, 57 Laps
2. Sebastien Buemi, Toro Rosso, 1:21.031, 84 Laps
3. Nico Hulkenberg, Williams, 1:22.243, 118 Laps
4. Fernando Alonso, Ferrari, 1:22.895, 88 Laps
5. Kamui Kobayashi, BMW Sauber, 1:23.287, 55 Laps
6. Jenson Button, McLaren, 1:24.947, 68 Laps
7. Vitantonio Liuzzi, Force India, 1:24.968, 71 Laps
8. Vitaly Petrov, Renault, 1:25.440, 27 Laps
9. Mark Webber, Red Bull, 1:26.502, 50 Laps
10. Timo Glock, Virgin, 1:38.734, 5 Laps