Sebastian Vettel got his first taste of the new Red Bull RB6 at Jerez on Friday, but the German's day was hampered by the poor weather, which limited his running in the dry.
The Red Bull driver was happy with the first impressions, but admits he needs more dry running to judge the car.
Q. First day in the car and in the rain, how much did you learn?
Sebastian Vettel: Well, we had a bit of dry running this morning so we had a long run. First of all it was good to come back after three months and sit in the car – it feels good. The car felt all right; we didn't have any big issues.
Obviously, the weather is not ideal to do a normal test and to find out more about the car. But nevertheless you can face these conditions in a grand prix, so it's important to go out and do some laps, which we did. All in all I think it was a good day.
Q. Did you find the balance of the car alright?
SV: It was OK. As I said, after three months it was my first run and we knew it would start raining early so we didn't mess around with checking the car too long. We went straight to the circuit to do some laps. It was a cold start for me but it's good to know you are still able to do it. In the car I was pretty happy.
Obviously, in the last three days we haven't had a lot of time to really set up the car. It was more like coming here and shake down the car and the weather has been too much up and down, so we did a little bit of work which was going in the right direction, but there's a lot more to come and I expect everyone to improve from where they are now, so we will see. At the moment it's pretty close so it looks interesting.
Q. Have you been able to see what the car is like with heavy fuel?
SV: I think, like everyone, you are trying to find out how is the feel, especially when the tank is full. It feels very different compared to last year and also if you look at the lap times sometimes you might think it's easy to see who is on a full tank and who is not, but then people are playing around, so it doesn't help.
You are pretty lost sometimes, because you might be three seconds off but you might be quick. This year you could be three seconds off the pace on Friday and still be the quickest, but you won't know until Saturday when we go to qualy. I think it will be quite exciting.
Q. Have you been surprised by any cars?
SV: There is no one surprise, I think the biggest surprise is everyone. If you look at the cars they are different colors but also different shapes, and a different philosophy behind. They are all more or less close together, within a couple of tenths, so Ferrari, McLaren, Mercedes and us I think it's pretty close. But I also think the Toro Rosso looks quite strong. There's a lot of things happening until Bahrain, and a lot of parts coming for the teams, but so far it looks very close.
Q. Did you get a feeling about how good this car might be in the wet?
SV: It's too early, and if you are good or bad it depends on the others. Obviously, it hasn't been straightforward running with everyone in the same conditions, or at the same time, or with the same fuel, so the answer is unknown. But it feels good. We didn't have any problems, and balance-wise it feels similar to last year.
Q. Since this car has been designed with the double diffuser in mind, can you feel the extra help at the back?
SV: Yes and no. You might think there is more grip on high-speed corners, but on the other hand you are heavier so it's difficult. Balance-wise I'm pretty happy. I think the car is a step forward. To be fair, we didn't have a lot of time in the dry, and this is where you usually find where to go.
Q. What do you expect for tomorrow?
SV: Hopefully it's going to be dry because, as I said, it's more consistent. You can have a better test and play around with the car and find the right setup.