Fernando Alonso puts Ferrari on top in opening practice for the Spanish Grand Prix
|By Matt Beer||Friday, May 11th 2012, 09:32 GMT|
Fernando Alonso gave the upgraded Ferrari an encouraging grand prix weekend debut as he went fastest in the first Friday practice session at Barcelona.
Although the home favourite did not go for a flying lap until over an hour into the morning, Alonso was immediately quick when he finished his data-gathering runs - knocking Sebastian Vettel's Red Bull off the top spot with a 1m24.754s lap 21 minutes from the end of the session.
Alonso then improved again on his next run and lapped in 1m24.430s, giving him a 0.378-second cushion over Vettel, who remained second to the finish.
Before Alonso started setting the pace, Vettel had enjoyed a 15-minute spell at the head of the order, having usurped long-time first-place man Kamui Kobayashi. The Sauber stayed near the front, though, holding third place at the end of the session.
McLaren's practice activities included evaluating its new nose and checking sight lines with a bar across the top of the chassis. Jenson Button was fourth quickest, with team-mate Lewis Hamilton eighth.
Williams test driver Valtteri Bottas spent a while in second before ending up fifth in Bruno Senna's regular car. Michael Schumacher and Romain Grosjean were next up in the best Mercedes and Lotus respectively, with the latter's team-mate Kimi Raikkonen and Force India's Nico Hulkenberg completing the top 10 behind Hamilton.
Bottas was one of four reserve drivers in action during the morning. Jules Bianchi was 18th in Paul di Resta's Force India, and there were debuts for Caterham's Alexander Rossi and HRT's Dani Clos, who were 21st and 24th respectively. Clos' car developed a problem near the end but he was able to crawl back into the pitlane before coming to a halt at the end of the pit entry.
Pos Driver Team Time Laps 1. Fernando Alonso Ferrari 1m24.430 20 2. Sebastian Vettel Red Bull-Renault 1m24.808s + 0.378 18 3. Kamui Kobayashi Sauber-Ferrari 1m24.912s + 0.482 28 4. Jenson Button McLaren-Mercedes 1m24.996s + 0.566 24 5. Valtteri Bottas Williams-Renault 1m25.120s + 0.690 24 6. Michael Schumacher Mercedes 1m25.187s + 0.757 15 7. Romain Grosjean Lotus-Renault 1m25.217s + 0.787 16 8. Lewis Hamilton McLaren-Mercedes 1m25.252s + 0.822 20 9. Kimi Raikkonen Lotus-Renault 1m25.285s + 0.855 29 10. Nico Hulkenberg Force India-Mercedes 1m25.339s + 0.909 24 11. Jean-Eric Vergne Toro Rosso-Ferrari 1m25.367s + 0.937 22 12. Felipe Massa Ferrari 1m25.433s + 1.003 21 13. Mark Webber Red Bull-Renault 1m25.539s + 1.109 23 14. Nico Rosberg Mercedes 1m25.607s + 1.177 20 15. Sergio Perez Sauber-Ferrari 1m25.918s + 1.488 19 16. Daniel Ricciardo Toro Rosso-Ferrari 1m26.226s + 1.796 24 17. Pastor Maldonado Williams-Renault 1m26.297s + 1.867 18 18. Jules Bianchi Force India-Mercedes 1m26.630s + 2.200 21 19. Vitaly Petrov Caterham-Renault 1m27.475s + 3.045 20 20. Timo Glock Marussia-Cosworth 1m28.267s + 3.837 21 21. Alexander Rossi Caterham-Renault 1m28.448s + 4.018 25 22. Charles Pic Marussia-Cosworth 1m28.633s + 4.203 22 23. Pedro de la Rosa HRT-Cosworth 1m29.107s + 4.677 19 24. Dani Clos HRT-Cosworth 1m31.618s + 7.188 19 All Timing Unofficial