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Lotus on top as Barcelona test kicks-off

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Friday 2nd March, 2012 - 8:32am

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Romain Grosjean aboard the Lotus

Romain Grosjean aboard the Lotus

Lotus has returned to Formula One testing by topping the timesheets on the opening day at Barcelona, Spain.

The team was forced to pull out of the previous test in Barcelona after a fundamental front-suspension issue arose on the opening day of running.

Romain Grosjean completed a late run on soft compound tyres to top the day’s times while the majority of teams focussed on long runs.

Jenson Button’s time from the morning’s running was good enough to remain second for McLaren, while Sergio Perez (Sauber), Mark Webber (Red Bull) and Nico Rosberg (Mercedes) rounded out the top five.

Grosjean told reporters at the circuit that the revised Lotus feels no different than it had prior to its front-suspension modification.

“Not at all, nothing really different,” said Grosjean. “It doesn’t change much. Exactly the same good feeling as in Jerez, we can push and we can trust the car – and you can really play with it, which is enjoyable.

“When you have a problem you are a little bit wondering what is going on, so we checked all day long that everything was fine – but I knew what we needed to do to repair the car and make it strong, and when we left we got much stronger.

The Marussia and Hispania squads are both absent from the Jerez test, with the Russian owned team’s 2012 car having recently failed its final FIA crash test.

See below for the full Day 1 times.

 1 Romain Grosjean Lotus 1m23.252s
 2 Jenson Button McLaren 1m23.510s +0.258
 3 Sergio Perez Sauber 1m23.820s +0.568
 4 Mark Webber Red Bull 1m23.830s +0.578
 5 Nico Rosberg Mercedes 1m23.992s +0.740
 6 Jean-Eric Vergne Toro Rosso 1m24.216s +0.964
 7 Paul di Resta Force India 1m24.305s +1.053
 8 Felipe Massa Ferrari 1m24.318s +1.066
 9 Vitaly Petrov Caterham 1m24.876s +1.624
10 Pastor Maldonado Williams 1m25.587s +2.335

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