Felipe Massa has finished at the top of the timesheets as pre-season testing begins in Valencia. The Brazilian driver led the way for Ferrari as local favorite Pedro de la Rosa and 7-time World Champion Michael Schumacher completed the top three for Sauber and Mercedes respectively.
With the all-important pre-season testing beginning in Valencia for three days this week, the circus will move on to Jerez for the following fortnight's worth of running before Barcelona hosts four days at the end of the month. Temperatures hovered around 12°C (54°F) on what was a bright day in Valencia on Monday.
With testing under way at 10am following the launch of Toro Rosso's STR5 in the pit lane, seven teams put their brand-new 2010 contenders through their paces, with Mercedes being the only squad electing to run both of its drivers.
Massa set the leading pace on a best effort of 1:12.574 (also circulating the most times, with 102 laps to his name) as de la Rosa, who is in F1 full-time this year for the first time since 2002, finished two tenths quicker. Schumacher was a further two tenths behind the Spaniard as Nico Rosberg, who drove the morning period for Mercedes, ended up sixth tenths down on his illustrious team-mate.
Toro Rosso's day consisted of just 18 laps for Sébastien Buemi as the Swiss driver was consigned to the pit lane shortly before the lunch break due to a gearbox problem; after planning to rejoin the session approximately ten minutes before the end of the day, hope was seemingly lost for the Faenza team as red flags came out due to a stoppage for Rubens Barrichello's Williams at 4:45pm.
With the session extended by ten minutes to make up for the lost time, Barrichello ended the day sixth behind McLaren's Gary Paffett as Buemi bettered Robert Kubica's time; the Pole was eighth and slowest of the day's runners on a lap time of 1:15.000 in the striking yellow and black-liveried Renault.
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