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Motorsport | Formula 1

Kimi Raikkonen © Gallo Images

Raikkonen fastest on quiet opening day



Ferrari's Kimi Raikkonen was fastest as Lewis Hamilton crashed his Mercedes on an otherwise quiet opening day to Formula One's pre-season testing in Jerez, southern Spain on Tuesday.

It was a frustrating start, though, for four-time world champion Sebastian Vettel, as he was only able to complete three laps, and former world champion Jenson Button as the new McLaren MP4-29 failed to make it out of the garage.

Raikkonen, who is making his return to Ferrari after a three-year spell between 2007 and 2009 which saw him win the world drivers title in his first season with them, was also able to complete the most laps with 31 of the paltry 93 combined total.

And the Finn said getting used to a new car, modelled to comply with a series of new technical regulations, is the primary objective of first week back racing with the Italian team.

"The biggest challenge is just getting all the things working as we want," he said.

"Everyone wants to see more laps and obviously we want to do more laps, but it is pretty normal with such a big change. It will take time before we can all go at 100 per cent."

"Lap times don't mean anything right now. We are just trying to get the car working as well as we can."

Hamilton was more effusive about his new W05 despite coming off the track and into a tyre barrier after completing 18 laps.

"For me it's an incredibly positive start to be the first car out on track and to have completed the most laps by the time we finished.

"Other teams have been going out for single-lap runs, starting a few hours after we had first hit the track, so to have started running through our test programme was very encouraging."

Vettel and his Red Bull team launched their RB10 to much fanfare early in the day as they go in search of a fifth consecutive drivers' and constructors' title.

However, their enthusiasm was dampened as Vettel only appeared on track with just over 15 minutes of the session remaining after being delayed by technical glitches.

"It was just a matter of carrying the car around for three laps today.

"The problem took longer than we thought, but given the lack of running today everybody has quite a bit on."

Red Bull's issues were far from unique as most teams struggled to get their newly modelled cars up and running.

McLaren were the only team with a car on site not to complete a lap.

However, Caterham had to delay their early morning launch, while Marussia won't do any testing until Thursday at the earliest as their MR03 model didn't get out of the team's technical base in Oxfordshire until Tuesday morning.

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