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2012-02-22 08:44

NEW CAR: Michael Schumacher gets to grips with his 2012 Mercedes though defending champion Sebastian Vettel showed his Red Bull is still blisteringly fast during tetsing.

BARCELONA, Spain - Michael Schumacher tried out his 2012 Mercedes for the first time at the Catalunya circuit near here but set only the sixth-fastest time in Tuesday's Formula 1 test session.

Red Bull's Sebastian Vettel, the defending F1 champion, was quickest with a lap of 1min23.265 to finish almost a second ahead of Schumacher.


Niko Hulkenberg (Force India) trailed Vettel by just under two-tenths, ahead of Lewis Hamilton (McLaren) and Daniel Ricciardo (Toro Rosso). Ferrari's Fernando Alonso edged out Schumacher for fifth.

Lotus was forced to abandon the session due to a chassis problem but expects to return to the track before the end of the session.

Mercedes used its 2011 design at the previous test session in Jerez.

Testing will continue here until February 24 but resume over March 1-4 before the teams head to Australia for the first race of the 2012 season in Melbourne on March 18.

1 Sebastian Vettel, Red Bull 1min23.265 79 laps
2 Nico Hulkenberg, Force India 1min3.440 (97)
3 Lewis Hamilton, McLaren 1min23.590 (114)
4 Daniel Ricciardo, Toro Rosso 1min23.618 (76)
5 Fernando Alonso, Ferrari 1min24.100 (75)
6 Michael Schumacher, Mercedes 1min24.150 (51)
7 Sergio Perez, Sauber 1min24.219 (66)
8 Bruno Senna, Williams 1min25.711 (97)
9 Heikko Kovalainen, Caterham 1min26.035 (31)
10 Romain Grosjean, Lotus 1min26.809 (7)
11 Charles Pic, Marussia 1min28.026 (121)

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