Chinese GP: Fernando Alonso and Ferrari lead first Friday practice
|By James Roberts||Friday, April 18th 2014, 03:36 GMT|
Fernando Alonso set the early pace for the Ferrari Formula 1 team in the opening practice session for this weekend's Chinese Grand Prix.
The two-time world champion was 0.398 seconds faster than Nico Rosberg's Mercedes at a cool and misty Shanghai International Circuit.
Australian Daniel Ricciardo was third quickest in his Red Bull ahead of Jenson Button's McLaren.
Nico Hulkenberg was fifth fastest for Force India, one place in front of the other McLaren of Kevin Magnussen.
The second Mercedes of Lewis Hamilton was eighth fastest overall, but his session ended a few minutes early after he reported a problem with the balance of his car.
Alonso's pace will have pleased Ferrari's new team principal Marco Mattiacci, who made his first appearance in his new role with the Scuderia this morning.
There was less joy on the other side of the garage as Alonso's team-mate Kimi Raikkonen could only manage a single installation lap after he suffered problems with the front of his car.
As ever the first practice session of the weekend was characterised by low grip and many drivers struggled with locking brakes. A number of teams were also trailing new parts - including Mercedes, which has arrived in China with a new front wing.
Sauber's Esteban Gutierrez did not emerge from his garage until an hour into the session after he suffered a malfunction his clutch. Jules Bianchi had a fuel system problem following his installation lap and sat out nearly all of the 90 minutes before joining for a brief late run.
There was early drama for Pastor Maldonado when he spun his Lotus at Turn 9 just 10 minutes into the session. He appeared to be looking down to make an adjustment on his steering wheel as he lost control.
Rookie Daniil Kvyat was another to leave the track, when he made a small mistake and spun at Turn 1 and also Turn 14.
Williams ran its test and reserve driver Felipe Nasr in place of Valtteri Bottas for this session and he finished with the 13th fastest time.
Sauber also used one of its test roster, with Giedo van der Garde standing in for Adrian Sutil.
Pos Driver Team/Car Time Gap Laps 1. Fernando Alonso Ferrari 1m39.783s 20 2. Nico Rosberg Mercedes 1m40.181s +0.398s 16 3. Daniel Ricciardo Red Bull-Renault 1m40.772s +0.989s 23 4. Jenson Button McLaren-Mercedes 1m40.970s +1.187s 23 5. Nico Hulkenberg Force India-Mercedes 1m41.175s +1.392s 16 6. Kevin Magnussen McLaren-Mercedes 1m41.366s +1.583s 20 7. Jean-Eric Vergne Toro Rosso-Renault 1m41.505s +1.722s 26 8. Lewis Hamilton Mercedes 1m41.560s +1.777s 9 9. Sebastian Vettel Red Bull-Renault 1m41.629s +1.846s 19 10. Felipe Massa Williams-Mercedes 1m41.699s +1.916s 14 11. Daniil Kvyat Toro Rosso-Renault 1m41.977s +2.194s 23 12. Romain Grosjean Lotus-Renault 1m42.090s +2.307s 24 13. Felipe Nasr Williams-Mercedes 1m42.265s +2.482s 13 14. Giedo van der Garde Sauber-Ferrari 1m42.615s +2.832s 16 15. Sergio Perez Force India-Mercedes 1m42.733s +2.950s 13 16. Pastor Maldonado Lotus-Renault 1m43.731s +3.948s 22 17. Kamui Kobayashi Caterham-Renault 1m44.038s +4.255s 16 18. Esteban Gutierrez Sauber-Ferrari 1m44.162s +4.379s 17 19. Jules Bianchi Marussia-Ferrari 1m44.270s +4.487s 7 20. Max Chilton Marussia-Ferrari 1m44.782s +4.999s 20 21. Marcus Ericsson Caterham-Renault 1m44.835s +5.052s 22 22. Kimi Raikkonen Ferrari 1