Felipe Massa's Ferrari topped the opening day of this week's preseason test at Jerez.
The Brazilian set Thursday's best time on the seventh lap of his first run of the day. That came exactly halfway through a stint, which is a positive sign for the Ferrari's pace on both a fuel load and tire front.
Ferrari undertook just one more long run in the afternoon, with Massa completing 16 laps mostly in the 1m23-24sec. He was also back in the 1m22sec a few more times on shorter runs but at no stage did he lap within 1.5sec of his best.
Sergio Perez set the second-fastest time of the day. That lap came on the first flying lap of an eight-lap stint, during which his pace dropped away drastically through the 1m25sec to 1m27sec before he pitted. The Sauber did not run for more than eight laps at any time during the day.
Perez had earlier caused the first red flag of the day when he stopped at the exit of Curva Jorge Martinez – the second of the left-handers after the Dry Sack hairpin.
Mark Webber's best time may only have been good enough for third overall, but it was set on the first of a six-lap run. The Red Bull RB7 once again showed impressive consistency of pace over several longer runs – Webber had two more stints of longer than a dozen laps and was a fixture in the 1m23sec throughout.
Daniel Ricciardo was fourth fastest for Toro Rosso, lapping regularly in the 1m23sec during mid-length stints and dipping down to a 1m21.7sec for his best lap.
McLaren stuck mainly to short runs for the first day out of its new car, which ended up fifth. During his longest run, of 11 laps, Lewis Hamilton's lap times dropped from 1m23sec into the 1m24sec. His best time of the day, a 1m21.914sec, was set on a single-lap run.
Jaime Alguersuari took over the Toro Rosso driving duties from Ricciardo for the afternoon and finished up sixth. He stuck mainly to five-lap bursts, his times ranging from consistent 1m22sec up to one run entirely in the 1m27sec.
It was a careful start for Force India's first run out with its 2011 car but, at the end of the day, Adrian Sutil did 11 consecutive laps, circulating mainly in the 1m24sec. He also did the best of his 28 laps early in that stint, putting him seventh at the end of the day.
After a quick stint to test the water, Renault's Vitaly Petrov spent the majority of his morning doing back-to-back installation laps. He settled into the 1m24sec on his longest run of eight laps, and set his best time on the first of a five-lap run. He also caused a red flag by spinning into the gravel at Turn 1 late in the afternoon.
It was another day of testing that Mercedes has completed without yet showing any signs of a front-running pace. Nico Rosberg's times slipped from 1m24sec to 1m26sec on his longest run of the day, 17 laps – although he did set his best time of the day on the third lap of that stint, while carrying a significant fuel load. The Mercedes was also the cause of one of the day's red flags as Rosberg stopped out on track midway through the day.
Team Lotus' best long run was of a dozen laps, peaking at a 1m24.792sec and dropping into consistent 1m26sec. Jarno Trulli was able to dip lower into the 1m24sec on shorter runs later in the day.
Timo Glock did 42 laps today in the Virgin MVR-02, spending most of his day in the 1m25sec – on shorter runs earlier on, and then during an eight-lap stint to the session's close.
Pastor Maldonado completed just 14 laps for Williams, following a problem with the car's rear wing actuator in the morning. The team hoped to return to the track for more running in the afternoon but in the end managed just a couple of short stints.
Pos Driver Car Time Gap
1. Felipe Massa, Ferrari, 1m20.709s
2. Sergio Perez, Sauber-Ferrari, 1m21.483s + 0.774s
3. Mark Webber, Red Bull-Renault, 1m21.522s + 0.813s
4. Daniel Ricciardo, Toro Rosso-Ferrari, 1m21.755s + 1.046s
5. Lewis Hamilton, McLaren-Mercedes, 1m21.914s + 1.205s
6. Jaime Alguersuari, Toro Rosso-Ferrari, 1m22.689s + 1.980s
7. Adrian Sutil, Force India-Mercedes, 1m23.472s + 2.763s
8. Vitaly Petrov, Renault, 1m23.504s + 2.795s
9. Nico Rosberg, Mercedes, 1m23.963s + 3.254s
10. Jarno Trulli, Lotus-Renault, 1m24.458s + 3.749s
11. Timo Glock, Virgin-Cosworth, 1m25.086s + 4.377s
12. Pastor Maldonado, Williams-Cosworth, 1m34.968s + 14.259s