Vettel fastest for Ferrari on day one of Jerez test

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Sebastian Vettel has begun life with Ferrari in the best possible fashion by finishing fastest on the first day pre-season testing in Jerez today.

The German driver was the first man out of the pit lane on Sunday morning in Spain, starting as he meant to go on. He ultimately finished with a best time of 1:22.620, one-tenth of a second clear of Sauber’s Marcus Ericsson.

Defending world champions Mercedes may not have topped the timesheets on the first day of testing, but Nico Rosberg undoubtedly put in the performance of the day. With a mammoth 157 laps to his name, the German proved that the quest to improve the reliability of the W06 Hybrid has been successful so far.

In fourth, Daniel Ricciardo gave the camouflage-liveried Red Bull a solid baptism in a far cry from the team’s performance last year. In the entirety of the test at Jerez last year, the former world champions completed just 21 laps; just today, the Australian managed 35, finishing with a best time of 1:23.338. However, his day was cut short when his car began emitting smoke during the afternoon, forcing him to pit.

Despite a late start, Valtteri Bottas managed to finish fifth for Williams, sixth tenths of a second behind Ricciardo. In his first test of the year, F1 rookie Carlos Sainz Jr. finished sixth for Toro Rosso.

The surprise name propping up the timesheets was Fernando Alonso, who in his first McLaren drive since November 2007 could complete just six laps in the Honda-powered MP4-30. However, the Spaniard was pleased with his day of running, tweeting that he felt proud of the team.

In a stark contrast to the test in Jerez last year, very few teams encountered major issues with their cars. Ferrari’s lap count may have been higher had it not been for a number of small problems on Vettel’s SF15-T, whilst McLaren is clearly still getting to grips with its new car. In total, there were only two red flags: one for Sainz and one for Ericsson. For starters though, F1 2015 is looking a great deal more reliable.

Testing resumes in Jerez tomorrow. You can see the full line-up here. Lotus will also be joining the test, with the E23 Hybrid not arriving in time to get out on track today.

Jerez Day 1 – Final Results

1. Sebastian Vettel Ferrari 1:22.620 (60 laps)
2. Marcus Ericsson Sauber 1:22.777 (73)
3. Nico Rosberg Mercedes 1:23.106 (157)
4. Daniel Ricciardo Red Bull 1:23.338 (35)
5. Valtteri Bottas Williams 1:23.906 (73)
6. Carlos Sainz Jr. Toro Rosso 1:25.327 (46)
7. Fernando Alonso McLaren 1:40.738 (6)

Steve Torrence takes NHRA points lead with Gatornationals victory

NHRA Gainesville Steve Torrence
Jeff Robinson/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images
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GAINESVILLE, Fla. — Two-time defending NHRA Top Fuel champion Steve Torrence took the points lead Sunday in the AMALIE Motor Oil Gatornationals, beating his father, Billy, in the final round at Gainesville Raceway.

Torrence had a 3.809-second run at 322.11 mph to win for the third time this year and 39th overall. He is now on track for another championship despite missing the season opener.

“We’ve got some good momentum and to be in the points lead, it’s a testament to how hard these guys work,” Steve Torrence said after the NHRA Gainesville victory. “We’ve just got to stay focused and concentrate on what the task at hand is, and that’s trying to win a championship. These guys give me an unbelievable race car and you just try not to screw it up.”

Ron Capps won in Funny Car, Alex Laughlin in Pro Stock and Matt Smith in Pro Stock Motorcycle.

Capps raced to his second win this year and 66th overall, beating Tim Wilkerson with a 3.937 at 323.12 in a Dodge Charger SRT Hellcat.

Laughlin topped Aaron Stanfield with a 7.068 at 204.76 in a Chevrolet Camaro for his first win this season and fourth in his career. Smith rode to his first victory in 2020 and 25th overall, topping Andrew Hines with a 6.843 at 196.99 on an EBR.