BARCELONA, Spain, Feb 19, 2013 (AFP) - Triple world champion Sebastian Vettel set the early pace for Red Bull on the first day of testing ahead of the start of the new Formula One season here on Tuesday.
Fernando Alonso, second to Vettel in the 2012 driver's championship, posted the third best time in Ferrari's F138 at Barcelona's Catalunya circuit having missed the opening batch of tests in Jerez.
Most of Vettel's laps were done on the hard tyres, an approach followed by Raikkonen who set his best time of 1:23.571 using the hard compound.
The 2012 runner-up, Fernando Alonso, hit the pitch for first time this pre-season at Barcelona where he was greeted by a good legion of fans at the main Grandstand. His time of 1:23.733 was also set on hard tyres as well, and ran a solid 44 laps.
The FW35 launched earlier in the day by Williams had an encouraging start with Maldonado registering the fourth best time of 1:23.733 set on the medium tyre. The Venezuelan ran for a long 49 laps, a number only matched by Paul di Resta from Force India.
The new season opens in Australia on March 17.
The times for the morning session:
|1||Sebastian Vettel||Red Bull||1:23.046||25|
|2||Kimi Raikkonen||Lotus||1:23.571||+ 0.525s||19|
|3||Fernando Alonso||Ferrari||1:23.626||+ 0.580s||44|
|4||Pastor Maldonado||Williams||1:23.733||+ 0.687s||47|
|5||Daniel Ricciardo||Toro Rosso||1:23.884||+ 0.838s||44|
|6||Sergio Perez||McLaren||1:24.124||+ 1.078s||22|
|7||Paul di Resta||Force India||1:24.144||+ 1.098s||47|
|8||Nico Rosberg||Mercedes||1:24.520||+ 1.474s||14|
|9||Esteban Gutierrez||Sauber||1:25.136||+ 2.090s||38|
|10||Charles Pic||Caterham||1:27.534||+ 4.488s||40|
|11||Max Chilton||Marussia||1:28.068||+ 5.022s||36|