Raikkonen fastest in first morning of testing

Kimi Raikkonen set the fastest time of the morning session © Getty Images
Kimi Raikkonen got his Formula One return off to a solid start at the first official test of 2012 by setting the fastest time of the morning session.
The Lotus driver had a head start on most of his competitors after spending Monday afternoon in the new E20 as part of the team's promotional launch. However, it was his first opportunity to sample the definitive 2012 Pirelli tyres and he wasted no time in going to the top of the timesheets, while the likes of McLaren, Ferrari and Red Bull started 2012 at a more leisurely pace. After a series of improving laps, Raikkonen's fastest time by 13:00 (local time) was a 1:19.670, and he completed an impressive 50 laps in total.

Paul di Resta was next up in the new Force India VJM05. He got close to Raikkonen with a time of 1:19.772 and completed a very healthy 52 laps in the new car, which debuted at Silverstone last week. Nico Rosberg was third fastest in the 2011 Mercedes, which has been dusted off ahead of the launch of the 2012 car at the next test in Barcelona. The W02 had no major problems and he set a time of 1:20.219 during his 56 laps on track.
Daniel Ricciardo was fourth fastest in the new Toro Rosso with a 1:20.694 and completed 40 laps. The new STR7 appeared to be running well, but technical director Giorgio Ascanelli admitted it was giving him "a bit of a headache" as the exhaust was overheating parts of the rear wishbones. Overall, however, both team principal Franz Tost and Ascanelli were happy with the initial running.
Kamui Kobayashi was next up, albeit well over a second off Ricciardo's pace. The Sauber, which also got some track time yesterday as part of the team's promotional filming allowance, completed 29 laps before returning to the garage ahead of lunch.
Jenson Button rounded out the top six with a time of 1:22.366 in the new McLaren MP4-27. Button spent most of the morning in the garage after completing two initial installation laps, but things picked up after midday and he logged another 17 laps before 13:00. The car featured revised exhausts compared to the launch model on display at Woking last week, but still looks the most familiar of the 2012 cars due to its more elegant nose design.
Felipe Massa was seventh fastest in the Ferrari after getting straight to work early in the morning and completing 45 laps in total. The mileage was impressive as it was the first time the car has hit the track since its launch at a snow-bound Maranello last week. He clocked a 1:22.815 to set an early benchmark on which Ferrari will no doubt build.
Heikki Kovalainen was less active, completing 23 laps in the Caterham and setting a fastest time of 1:23.178. He was marginally quicker than the new Williams piloted by Pastor Maldonado, which was launched at 08:40 this morning and completed 16 laps by 13:00.
Mark Webber notched up the fewest laps of all the drivers in the Red Bull RB8. It was the first time the new car had been seen in the carbon, but it proved to be a fleeting glance with just four laps and a best time of 1:23.556 by 13:00.
Pedro de la Rosa rounded off the order in last year's HRT. The all-white car, stripped of all sponsorship bar Pirelli and Cosworth logos, completed 32 laps with a best time of 1:24.209.
Times at 13:00 local time
1.Kimi RaikkonenLotus E201:19.67050
2.Paul di RestaForce India VJM051:19.77252
3.Nico RosbergMercedes W021:20.21956
4.Daniel RicciardoToro Rosso STR71:20.69440
5.Kamui KobayashiSauber C311:22.11229
6.Jenson ButtonMcLaren MP4-271:22.36619
7.Felipe MassaFerrari F20121:22.81545
8.Heikki KovalainenCaterham CT011:23.17823
9.Pastor MaldonadoWilliams FW341:23.45716
9.Mark WebberRed Bull RB81:23.5564
10.Pedro de la RosaHRT F1111:24.20932
Laurence Edmondson is deputy editor on ESPNF1


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