Jerez, Spain (Sports Network) - Kimi Raikkonen's return to Formula One began
on a high note when the 2007 world champion topped the timesheets in the first
of a four-day preseason test session on Tuesday at Jerez.
Raikkonen, who spent the past two seasons competing in the World Rally
Championship, turned in the best lap time of one minute, 19.670 seconds. The
32-year-old Finn completed a total of 73 laps around the Spanish circuit in
Lotus' new E20 car.
"It's great to see the E20 at a race circuit and even better to get behind the
wheel," Raikkonen said. "My initial impressions are good. I fit comfortably in
the car, and it feels great in first and second gear. Now let's see what it
can do tomorrow."
Paul di Resta from Force India was second fastest at 1:29.772, followed by
Mercedes' Nico Rosberg (1:20.219).
Mark Webber posted the fourth quickest time in Red Bull's new 2012 car, the
RB8. Webber's teammate and two-time defending F1 titleholder Sebastian Vettel
is expected to test the car in the last two days of testing -- Thursday and
"It was great to experience taking a completely new car out of the garage,"
said Webber, who completed 53 laps in his first day of testing. "It's too
early to give a true assessment of the car, but out of the box, it seemed
balanced and quite stable. It gave me a good feeling when I put the power
Daniel Ricciardo from Toro Rosso was fifth, followed by Mercedes' Michael
Schumacher and Kamui Kobayashi from Sauber.
Completing the top-10 were: McLaren's Jenson Button, Ferrari's Felipe Massa
and Heikki Kovalainen from Caterham.
Eleven of the 12 F1 teams are participating in the Jerez test. Marussia
(formerly known as Virgin Racing) have opted to skip Jerez completely, as the
Russian-owned team continues to work on its MR01 car. The team hopes to have
its new car on track for next month's test in Barcelona.