VETTEL TESTING IN JEREZ: Former Red Bull driver Sebastian Vettel tests for Ferrari during the 2015 F1 testing at the Jerez circuit in Spain. Image: AP/ Miguel Morenatti
JEREZ, Spain - Sebastian Vettel posted the fastest lap for Ferrari during pre-season Formula 1 testing, while 2014 championship runner-up, Mercedes’ Nico Rosberg, clocked a massive 157 laps.
Rosberg lost out on the title to Mercedes team mate Lewis Hamilton in a gripping and often tense tussle in 2014 that went down to the final race in Abu Dhabi.
Rosberg said: "Today every lap counts, I can feel I'm rusty. I'm definitely not as good now as I was on Sunday in Abu Dhabi. So I need to use these days to get back up to speed."
TAKING ON HAMILTON
The season opens on March 15 in Melbourne and if Sunday's (Feb 1) testing is anything to go by, Rosberg is in the mood to upstage Hamilton.
Rosberg said: "I want to become an even better driver in 2015. That's my aim and my personal challenge and it's a great challenge.
"That was the goal, to do a lot of mileage. Of course I'm feeling pains here and there. The good thing is that we haven't found any major problems yet. Reliability is very important for us. Try to find problems and get them sorted before the first race."
He was so keen to pile on the laps that he even had lunch sitting in his car.
VETTEL QUICKEST IN JEREZ
Vettel's best lap of 1min22.62 was .157 seconds quicker than Marcus Ericsson and .486 better than Rosberg.
There are four days of testing. Hamilton drives on Monday (Feb 2) and Wednesday (Feb 4).
Daniel Ricciardo was fourth fastest, 716 behind, and completed 35 laps in his Red Bull.
Ricciardo said: "The first impressions are good. We'll get a few more laps over the next few days, but so far everything seems pretty encouraging. I can feel a step forward. I won't go into too much detail but it is there."
Ricciardo was the only driver to break Mercedes' stranglehold last season, winning three races and outdoing four times F1 champion Vettel, who left Red Bull to join Ferrari.
Ricciardo said:"We knew (Mercedes) came out with a pretty awesome package last year and they probably just refined it and perfected it. I expect them again to be the ones to beat coming into Melbourne. But I'm not intimidated either. I think it's a reachable target for us."
SHAKE-UP AT FERRARI
Ferrari is desperate to find a way back to the top in F1, and in 2014 failed to win a race for the first time since 1993.
The team shake-up saw Fernando Alonso leaving to join McLaren, but it proved an unhappy day for the him as he managed only six laps.
The long session was interrupted twice, with the red flag coming out for the second time when Carlos Sainz Jnr stalled his Toro Rosso.
Testing continues until Wednesday (Feb 4).
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