• Jerez Test, Day One

McLaren's time 'looks strong' - Webber

ESPN Staff
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Mark Webber drove the Red Bull RB9 for the first time on Tuesday © Getty Images
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Red Bull's Mark Webber was impressed by Jenson Button's pace on the first day of testing, as the 2013 cars all took to the track together for the first time on Tuesday at Jerez.

Webber was second fastest but over 0.8s off the McLaren, which set the time on hard tyres towards the end of the day. Webber completed 73 laps compared to Button's 37, but the Red Bull driver thinks his rival looks quick.

"It's strong," he said. "I don't know what compound of tyre he was on but it's not a slow lap around here. A 1:18.8 at Jerez on Pirellis is a pretty handy time."

As for his first run in the Red Bull RB9, Webber said not much had changed from the final race of last season but that it was a big step over the first run in the RB8 this time last year.

"The regulations haven't changed so much so we now have a Brazil car in Jerez," he said. "Last year we didn't even have a Melbourne car [due to the regulations changes] so this is basically the 21st grand prix [of last season] at Jerez this week. So of course it's going to be a good step in performance from the last time we were here in Jerez."

He added: "I felt pretty comfortable pretty quickly. I was obviously trying to understand the tyre because there is a little bit going on there. There's general housekeeping, boxes and cooling and little things here and there. But that's frustrating for the engineers I think, for the drivers it's a reasonably straightforward day."

However, the abrasive surface at Jerez did cause high levels of tyre degradation and Webber said he had struggled with understeer once the performance of the Pirellis started to drop off.

"The car was very understeery today so we need to try to improve that today and get the car a little bit more responsive," he said. "Also, the tyres are going away a little bit and if you see a car on fresh tyres you see that the performance is quite high and if you see a car on older tyres it doesn't look very nice. If you do quite a few laps you can see lap times dropping to the 1:22s and 1:23s and even to the naked eye you can see the problems."

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