Jerez Test Day 1: Welcome back Kimi Raikkonen!

7 February, 2012

Kimi Raikkonen in action at Jerez in the Lotus E20

Kimi Raikkonen in action at Jerez driving the Lotus E20

Feb.7 (PVM) After a two year lay-off, Kimi Raikkonen ended day one of the first official Formula 1 test at Jerez fastest of all in the Renault E20, sending a signal down the pit lane that the Iceman is back!

Kimi Raikkonen in the cockpit of the E20

Raikkonen spent most of the day top of the timing screens, and was quickly  up to a strong pace, proving that the two years away did little to temper the Finn’s blistering speed.

It also suggests that the E20, pretty much like it’s ill-fated predecessor – the R31, is a handy piece of kit, straight out the box.

Raikkonen powered around Jerez in 1 minute 19.670 seconds, racking up 75 laps in the process, which was 0.102 seconds up on next best, Paul Di Resta at the wheel of the new Force India VJM05.

Notably Raikkonen’s best time on the day was faster than the best time set last year at Jerez, after the first day, in similar conditions.

Raikkonen summed up his day: “It was a positive first day of testing and everything went almost to plan. We had no major issues and I got a good feel for the car and the tyres. The tyres were more of a challenge in the afternoon when we ran with a scrubbed set, but overall it was a positive day. The lap times don’t matter today. I’m happy with the balance of the car, which feels good, and the fact that we didn’t have any major issues. Also, I did more than a race distance today and did not have any physical problems at all, which is good.”

Paul di Resta (GBR) Force India VJM05.

Paul di Resta in the Force India VJM05

The team’s technical boss James Allison observed, “You can tell Kimi is a class act. He gets in the car and is on the pace straight away; there’s no building up to it. His commitment is instant and the lap times show that. His fitness level is also good which has allowed him to be consistent, and he hasn’t had any major ‘moments’ out on track; he seems to have everything very much under control.”

Di Resta, second on the timing sheets, had a productive day racking up 101 laps and setting a best time of 1 minute 19.772 seconds.

Next best was Nico Rosberg in the 2011 Mercedes MGP-W02, who was in the cockpit in the morning ticking off 56 laps before handing over to team mate Michael Schumacher for the afternoon. The seven times world champion ended the day sixth fastest and amassed 42 tours of Jerez.

The much anticipated Red Bull RB8 made it’s track debut, but was delayed as parts arrived late, but with Mark Webber behind the wheel the Adrian Newey brainchild looked rapid right from the outset, with the Australian taking a mere four laps to get into the top three best times and clocking 300km/h plus at the speed traps. Ominous signs from the world champions.

It was an early shower for Daniel Ricciardo in the Toro Rosso STR7 as he coasted to a halt with an oil pressure problem, which brought out the first red flag of the day. Ricciardo’s day was over but he will be pleased with the fifth best time of the day with 57 laps on the board.

07.02.2012 Jerez, Spain - Kamui Kobayashi (JPN), Sauber F1 Team stopped on track - Formula1 World Championship Pre-Season Testing  - Jerez de la Frontera +++ © Copyright: Stange / RACE-PRESS.com

Kamui Kobayashi

Kamui Kobayashi in the Ferrari powered Sauber C31 ended the day seventh best, but ran out of fuel to prompt the second and final red flag of the day.

Somewhat subdued on the opening day were Jenson Button (McLaren MP4-27) and Felipe Massa (Ferrari F2012) who ended the day eighth and ninth fastest respectively. Button more than two seconds off the pace and Massa three seconds down on Raikkonen’s best.

Heikki Kovalainen rounded out the top ten in the Caterham CT01, with Pastor Maldonado running the Williams FW34 with Renault power for the first time, ending the day 11th and Pedro de la Rosa in last year’s HRT slowest of all.

For sure these are early days and reading anything into Raikkonen’s early pace is a moot exercise, but for any team to rather end the first day at the top of the timing sheets than at the bottom will be a morale booster, which will be heartily welcomed by the Enstone team, having endured a torrid 2011 and entering 2012 with an all new driver line-up.

And of course the Iceman is back! Welcome back Kimi Raikkonen!

Jerez Testing Day 1 Results – Tuesday, 7 February 2012

P Driver Team Time   Laps
1 Raikkonen Lotus 1.19.670   75
2 Di Resta Force India 1.19.772 +0.102 101
3 Rosberg Mercedes 1.20.219 +0.549 56
4 Webber Red Bull 1.20.496 +0.826 54
5 Ricciardo Toro Rosso 1.20.694 +1.024 57
6 Schumacher Mercedes 1.20.794 +1.124 42
7 Kobayashi Sauber 1.21.353 +1.683 106
8 Button McLaren 1.21.952 +2.282 62
9 Massa Ferrari 1.22.815 +3.145 69
10 Kovalainen Caterham 1.23.178 +3.508 28
11 Maldonado Williams 1.23.371 +3.701 25
12 De La Rosa HRT 1.24.209 +4.539 44


  • zedster

    Last year Rubens topped the times first test..look what happened to them….ended up propping up the grid.

  • Evel

    I’ve always thought that if anything Rally driving will have improved Kimi’s skills.
    Unlike Schumacher, Raikkonen was still driving a race car, albeit it a different formula, during his break – hopefully today’s times mean he’s already up to speed.
    I’m a little surprised by the Lotus – it looked very conservative and unexciting at the launch but then again the only thing that matters is how it goes out on track.
    Kimi Raikkonen, World Champion 2012 – I really hope so!

  • SA F1 FAN

    Welcome back KIMI!!yeah baby!!!even though its only the 1st day of testing its so good seeing his name back in f1 AND on top of the timesheets…bring on 2012 season!The ICEMAN cometh

  • Malcolm

    The ice man cometh……hahahaha….Even though being a huge and I mean a huge Hamilton fan, it’s good to see the Kimster back, and topping the time sheets on the first day of testing.

  • Louay

    guys, can I watch the Jerez testing or is it not on tv? and if it is could someone mention what time it should be at? Thanks people, and oh, trust me, no ones pushing now, they don’t want to show exactly what the car is capable of doing just now, wait until Australia, and let the action begin :)

  • Mild_seven

    Louay you are absolutely right mate!
    Just have to wait for Australia!
    last years timing
    1. Sebastian Vettel, Red Bull, 1:13.769, 93 Laps
    2. Nico Hulkenberg, Force India, 1:13.938, 71 Laps
    3. Gary Paffett, McLaren, 1:14.292, 91 Laps
    4. Paul di Resta, Force India, 1:14.461, 28 Laps
    5. Fernando Alonso, Ferrari, 1:14.553, 98 Laps
    6. Kamui Kobayashi, Sauber, 1:15.621, 64 Laps
    7. Jerome D’Ambrosio, Virgin, 1:16.003, 71 Laps
    8. Vitaly Petrov, Renault, 1:16.351, 28 Laps
    9. Michael Schumacher, Mercedes GP, 1:16.450, 15 Laps
    10. Jaime Alguersuari, Toro Rosso, 1:17.214, 19 Laps
    11. Rubens Barrichello, Williams, 1:17.335, 77 Laps
    12. Narain Karthikeyan, HRT, 1:18.020, 45 Laps
    13. Nico Rosberg, Mercedes GP, 1:19.930, nine Laps

  • Nemo

    Williams have live timing on their site.

  • BILL.

    Worthy Competition Is All That A True 30+ Years F1 Fan Can Wish For The Racers It Hugely Respects.

    Go, HAMILTON !

  • me262

    Love Kimi’s helmet

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