Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Jerez Day One: Kimi's Komeback

The first day of testing in Jerez is officially over and I am not really any closer to understanding just who will be the team to beat in Melbourne. The big story of the day was Kimi Raikkonen topping the time sheets in the Lotus E20. It must have been particularly satisfying for the former Ferrari driver because he is returning to the sport after a two year absence. The thirty two year old Finn got down to business right away and showed no signs of being drowsy when he set the best time of 1:19.670 early in the session. There were rumours circulating that Raikkonen was spotted later on in the day eating an ice cream, but it turns out that they were completely unfounded and started by me…right now. For those of you who are disappointed that there are no new ice cream photos, here’s the famous moment one more time. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2WeXfPJIbeM Putting all joking aside, I wish Kimi the best of luck this year. He was always a gentleman at Ferrari and even though his personality was not the best match for the team, he will always be a Ferrari World Champion. As Michael Schumacher has shown, making a comeback is no easy task, so Raikkonen will have his work cut out for him.

Aside from Lotus’s impressive form (which may be real or manufactured in order to grab headlines), the Red Bull RB8, which was launched officially yesterday, put in a solid performance. Mark Webber finished the day in 4th place, less than a second adrift, despite missing much of the early running as the team awaited late-arriving parts from England.

Both the McLaren of Jenson Button and the Ferrari of Felipe Massa languished in 8th and 9th positions, setting times well off of Raikkonen’s pace. Ferrari reported on their Twitter feed that the main goal of the day was to collect data and make sure that all of the systems were functioning correctly. In that respect, the F2012 had a successful day, completing 300 kilometres without incident. After the inaugural running, Ferrari chief designer Nikolas Tombazis stated on Autosport’s website “We need to do a lot of work, but we think that we are at a good point compared to what we are expecting on this first day.”

While today was only the first day of testing, Ferrari and McLaren will surely be looking to set more competitive times tomorrow. The world will be watching and certainly talking if the two Formula 1 powerhouses fail to climb further up the timesheets by the end of the Jerez engagement.

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