Alonso Sets Early Pace in Valencia

Jaime Alguersuari (STR6)Kamui Kobayashi (Sauber C30)Kamui Kobayashi (Sauber C30)Nico Rosberg (Mercedes W02)Nico Rosberg (Mercedes W02)Nico Rosberg in the Mercedes garageRubens Barrichello (Williams FW33)Rubens Barrichello (Williams FW33)Rubens Barrichello (Williams FW33)Rubens Barrichello (Williams FW33)Rubens Barrichello (Williams FW33)Sebastian Vettel (Red Bull RB7)Sebastian Vettel (Red Bull RB7)Sebastian Vettel (Red Bull RB7)Fernando Alonso (Ferrari F150)Fernando Alonso (Ferrari S.p.A.)Fernando Alonso (Ferrari S.p.A.)Fernando Alonso (Ferrari S.p.A.)Fernando Alonso (Ferrari S.p.A.)Fernando Alonso (Ferrari S.p.A.)Fernando Alonso (Ferrari S.p.A.)Fernando Alonso (Ferrari S.p.A.)Fernando Alonso in the Ferrari garage
Ferrari and Fernando Alonso finished the first session of winter testing at Valencia's Ricardo Tormo circuit on top of the timing reports, as the Spaniard put more than 2 tenths of a second between him and nearest rival Sebastian Vettel (Red Bull) by the end of the morning action.

Having taken his Ferrari F150 around the Spanish track for the most laps this morning (44), the Spaniard hit trouble in the first hour of action, experiencing some technical issues with his car. After taking his challenger back to the garage for repairs, the Spaniard was able to resume action at no time.

Little by little, all 2011 challengers – the ones revealed before the Valencia test, that is – started to see some track time, beginning with reigning champion Sebastian Vettel, Sauber's Kamui Kobayashi, Renault's Vitaly Petrov and Williams' Rubens Barrichello. Scuderia Toro Rosso's Jaime Alguersuari also put his STR6 through its paces later on.

After setting an early pace this morning, Alonso slowly and gradually improved his track performances, eventually finishing with the best time of 1:14.718. Vettel had to settle for the runner up spot after doing only 15 laps by 1 PM, while Nico Hulkenberg took his 2010-spec VJM03 in 3rd place for Force India.

Mercedes GP's Nico Rosberg had a morning to forget on Tuesday, as his car was the first to deploy a red flag. And not because he crashed the newly-launched W02 or anything, but because it stopped right on the track in the early hours of the morning session.

After the action resumed, it was all a 2-way battle between Alonso and Vettel until the end.

Here are some unofficial lap times after the morning action in Valencia (registered until 1 PM):

01. Fernando Alonso (Ferrari F150)                                   1:14.718              (44 laps)
02. Sebastian Vettel (Red Bull Racing RB7)                       1:14.962 + 0.244 (15 laps)
03. Nico Hulkenberg (Force India VJM-03)                         1:15.615 + 0.897 (29 laps)
04. Kamui Kobayashi (Sauber C30)                                    1:15.831 + 1.113 (38 laps)
05. Gary Paffett (McLaren MP4-25)                                     1:16.256 + 1.538 (45 laps)
06. Jerome D'Ambrosio (Virgin Racing MVR-02)                 1:16.398 + 1.680 (32 laps)
07. Jaime Alguersuari (Toro Rosso STR6)                           1:18.260 + 3.542 (8 laps)
08. Narain Karthikeyan (HRT F1 Team F111)                      1:18.650 + 3.932 (22 laps)
09. Rubens Barrichello (Williams FW33)                              1:18.714 + 3.996 (11 laps)
10. Nico Rosberg (Mercedes GP W02)                                1:19.930 + 5.212 (9 laps)
11. Vitaly Petrov (Lotus Renault GP R31)                             1:20.633 + 5.915 (6 laps)
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