Here we go again, another season of Formula 1 images starting in the best place on the calendar, Australia! You can relive the 2015 season opener after the break with our gallery of 89 images, all clickable to 2560px mega image sizing.
Kimi Raikkonen ensured Ferrari ended its pre-season testing at Jerez in the headlines by setting the fastest time of the day (1:20.841).
“Over the winter, we have made a good step forward and this car is definitely an improvement over the 2014 one,” Raikkonen said at day’s end. “It’s the whole package that has progressed, but there is still a lot of work to do.”
Second quickest was Felipe Nasr (1:22.019) in the Ferrari-powered Sauber C34. Defending champions Mercedes found themselves with the third best time of the day, thanks to world champion Lewis Hamilton (1:22.172), who completed 117 laps, more than any other driver.
Max Verstappen piloted his Toro Rosso to the fourth best lap (1:22.553), more than half a second ahead of Felipe Massa (1:23.116) in fifth.
Pocketing a helpful 53 laps for Lotus with its switch to Mercedes power was Romain Grosjean (1:23.802 ) who recorded the sixth fastest lap. Daniil Kvyat (1:23.975) managed to keep the front wing of the RB11 in one piece but was well off the leading pace, going seventh fastest.
In a consistent last place on the lap charts was the McLaren-Honda. Jenson Button (1:27.660) was at the wheel and did at least take the MP4-30 below the 1:30 barrier for the first time this week.
Pre-season testing will resume in two weeks time at Barcelona (19â€“22 February) and will conclude with a second session in Barcelona (26 Februaryâ€“1 March).
Sauber’s F1 rookie Felipe Nasr (1:21.545) has kept Ferrari power at the top of the timesheets in Jerez overnight. He completed 109 laps overall and this is in stark contrast to pre-season testing last year when cars were falling over themselves to break down first.
Kimi Raikkonen (1:21.750) went second fastest and managed 94 laps in his SF15-T. Nico Rosberg again covered more miles than any other driver doing 151 laps and setting the third best time (1:21.982).
The fourth best time was set by Felipe Massa (1:22.276) who racked up 71 laps. Half a second behind was Pastor Maldonado (1:22.713) in the Lotus E23. He managed 96 valuable laps.
Carlos Sainz Jr managed the most laps of the two Renault-powered teams, 137 in all, and went sixth fastest (1:23.187). Daniel Ricciardo had a slow start to the day after his RB11 was given a new engine. He was not chasing outright pace and went seventh quickest (1:23.901), managing 49 laps.
“Although we were limited with running today, we got some long runs together and that was encouraging,” said Daniel. “I was happy to do some 10â€“15 lap runs as thatâ€™s always where you get a better understanding of the car.
“I think the consistency today was good, we put a few laps together in the end, so a few positives to take away from today.”
McLaren took its place at the bottom of the pile, with Fernando Alonso some 14 seconds off the pace (1:35.553). Still, he’ll be pleased that he managed to complete 32 laps. The Honda-powered McLarens have a long way to go although the team remains bullish and says its happy with the progress being made.
“Operationally, we’ve already covered everything in our programme,” enthused Eric Boullier, McLaren racing director. “But what’s even more positive is that we’ve been able to carry out a number of longer runs. They’ve shown us that the car doesn’t have any conceptual or architectural issues.”
Sebastian Vettel has kept himself and Ferrari atop the lap charts in Jerez overnight, going fastest (1:20.984) for the second day running. The four-time champ knows it’s far too early to get excited about his season’s prospects yet, but admits “we have a good basis to work from.”
Inclement weather late in the day interrupted proceedings although some teams did get some testing done on intermediate tyres.
Before the rain set in Sauber also showed it’s relative pace on day 1 was no fluke, with rookie Felipe Nasr (1:21.867) posting the second best time during his first day as a bona fide F1 driver. Around half a second back was Valtteri Bottas (1:22.319) for Williams in the first of the Mercedes powered cars.
Lewis Hamilton enjoyed his first day out for Mercedes AMG in 2015, racking up 91 laps, more than anyone else and laying down the fourth quickest time of the day (1:22.490).
The baby of the bunch, 17-year-old Max Verstappen, managed 73 useful laps for Toro Rosso and was fifth fastest (1:24.167). In its track debut with the Mercedes power unit Lotus notched up 41 laps with Pastor Maldonado at the wheel. His best time (1:25.802) was the last of the meaningful laps with Jenson Button (1:54.655) and Daniil Kvyat (No time) having difficult days.
McLaren hopes to have a better day tomorrow with Yasuhisa Arai, Honda’s chief motorsport officer, telling journalists, “Today was another tricky day, but we feel like weâ€™ve overcome the main issue that affected our running during the first two days of the test. For tomorrow, weâ€™re hopeful that weâ€™ve moved on, and that we can get some more laps completed.”
Meanwhile, Daniil Kyvat’s Red Bull career got off to an embarrassing start when he clipped a wall on his out lap and broke the front wing. At this early stage of the year the team did not have a replacement readily available and he had to make do testing other aspects of the car.
Red Bull will have a replacement wing ready for day 3 of testing which begins late tonight (Australian time).
Sebastian Vettel has started his Ferrari career on a high after setting the fastest time (1:22.620) on the opening day of pre-season testing in Jerez.
Ferrari power proved strong, with Sauber’s Marcus Ericsson going second fastest (1:22.777). You get the sense though, even this early on, that Mercedes is just playing with its rivals. Nico Rosberg completed 157 laps, more than Vettel and Ericsson combined, and bossed the morning session setting the quickest time and third best overall (1:23.106).
Daniel Ricciardo was fourth fastest (1:23.338) in the RB11. The young Aussie completed 35 laps and his day ended in the afternoon due to an undisclosed technical glitch.
“We got going pretty well this morning and I got a few laps under my belt,” said Daniel. “I can feel a step forward. I won’t go into too much detail but it’s there. We didn’t do a whole lot of laps but definitely more than at this test last year!”
Red Bull can expect a much closer relationship with engine provider Renault in 2015 now that it is in effect Renault’s sole customer, in conjunction with its junior Toro Rosso team.
Valtteri Bottas tallied up a handy 73 laps for Williams and posted the fifth best time (1:23.906). Carlos Sainz Jr finished his first full day on track as an F1 driver with the sixth fastest lap (1:25.327) in the STR10.
The slowest time of the day was left to Fernando Alonso (1:40.738) who was well off the pace in the McLaren-Honda. The dual world champ managed just six laps and it’s likely to be a difficult pre-season for the MP4-30.
Force India has chosen to delay its first pre-season appearance until Barcelona (19 February). Meanwhile, Lotus is trackside in Jerez and says it expects to debut its E23 on Tuesday.
Well, hallelujah to Sauber! They’ve got no money, no hope and no chance of achieveing great things in 2015. But they’ve had a decent crack at livening up the grid with a new livery that, in some ways, takes us back to the halcyon days of Formula 1 with a hint of Williams-Renault.
The new C34-Ferrari will be at the first test in Jerez next week. It will still rely on some parts from the C33, with the team planning to introduce upgrades across the pre-season.
Sauber is F1’s perennial underdog, the team is entering its 23rd season and this year it’s with an all-new driver lineup. Swede Marcus Ericsson is back for his second year in F1 and he will be joined by Brazilian rookie Felipe Nasr.
It’s difficult to not have a soft spot Sauber. The team had a disappointing season last year and we hope they return to form in 2015.