Webber leads the way after opening day of final test

Mark Webber topped the timesheets after the opening day of the final winter test.

The Red Bull driver was in great form at the Circuit de Catalunya and set his fastest time during an early qualifying style single lap run. Webber then spent the rest of his day running a programme of longer ten to fifteen stints. His lap time was faster than any set in the previous Barcelona test and will surely have sent an ominous warning to the other teams on the pitlane.

McLaren have had a fraught winter thus far but Jenson Button will have given the team a glimmer of hope with the second fastest time of the day. However it was not a trouble free day for the 2009 world champion. During a race simulation afternoon run Button had problems and needed to pit with over 50 laps remaining on his stint. Reliability has been the teams Achilles heel throughout the winter and even on their most promising day of testing so far mechanical woes reared its head for the team.

Sergio Perez had displaced Button as the second fastest runner but the Mexican cut the final chicane on his lap and it was therefore deleted. Even without that lap the Sauber rookie was a hugely impressive fourth fastest, just behind Vitaly Petrov.

Petrov was not scheduled to have any running today but when Nick Heidfeld, fifth fastest for the day, decided that his cold was too severe to continue the team gave his car to the Russian.

Renault were not the only team to have two drivers running today. Force India also split time between Paul di Resta and Nico Hülkenberg and Lotus gave GP2 racers Davide Valsecchi and Luiz Razia time in their new car.

Jerome D’Ambrosio completed 57 laps but the Belgian was considerably off the pace with the team working on assessing their new car rather than out and out performance.

Williams, Ferrari, Mercedes and HRT did not take to the track today but the quartet will test tomorrow.

Pos  Driver             Team/Car              Time       Gap      Laps
1.  Mark Webber        Red Bull-Renault      1m22.544s           97
2.  Jenson Button      McLaren-Mercedes      1m22.910s  + 0.366  74
3.  Vitaly Petrov      Renault               1m22.937s  + 0.393  27
4.  Sergio Perez       Sauber-Ferrari        1m24.117s  + 1.573  90
5.  Nick Heidfeld      Renault               1m24.735s  + 2.191  20
6.  Paul di Resta      Force India-Mercedes  1m25.039s  + 2.495  38
7.  Davide Valsecchi   Lotus-Renault         1m25.406s  + 2.862  50
8.  Sebastien Buemi    Toro Rosso-Ferrari    1m26.004s  + 3.460  48
9.  Nico Hulkenberg    Force India-Mercedes  1m26.030s  + 3.486  31
10.  Luiz Razia         Lotus-Renault         1m26.723s  + 4.179  29
11.  Jerome D’Ambrosio  Virgin-Cosworth       1m32.060s  + 9.516  57

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