Bahrain GP: Felipe Massa tops opening practice session

Ferrari kicked off its Bahrain Grand Prix weekend with a one-two for Felipe Massa and Fernando Alonso in Friday morning practice

Bahrain GP: Felipe Massa tops opening practice session

Hot on the heels of Alonso's commanding victory for the team in China, Ferrari continued to underline that its 2013 Formula 1 car is a frontrunner on merit.

In a typically cagey opening session on the dusty Sakhir track, all the frontrunners waited long into practice before actually going for flying laps, and Ferrari held off longest of all.

Nearly an hour had elapsed by the time Alonso and Massa showed their hand, and they immediately went quickest, as first Alonso did a 1m34.564s, then Massa beat it by 0.077 seconds with a 1m34.487s a few minutes later.

They duly stayed on top as everyone, as usual, focused on heavy fuel and tyre endurance for the remaining half an hour.

Nico Rosberg had been fastest for Mercedes prior to the Ferraris' laps, and retained third, 0.134s off the pace.

Sebastian Vettel was the leading Red Bull in fourth, three places ahead of team-mate Mark Webber.

Force India had a strong session. Adrian Sutil spent a while on top around the halfway point, and although he later slipped to eighth, his team-mate Paul di Resta made it up to fifth place, ahead of Jenson Button's McLaren.

Lotus duo Kimi Raikkonen and Romain Grosjean completed the top 10.

Lewis Hamilton was only 13th, 1.2s slower than team-mate Rosberg, but with no sign of drama at Mercedes, the disparity appeared due to differing programmes.

Heikki Kovalainen made his F1 return in 20th place. He ended up 0.6s slower than team-mate Charles Pic in Caterham's upgraded car as he settled in. Both were ahead of the Marussias.

Rodolfo Gonzalez's GP weekend debut with Marussia was curtailed by a gearbox issue after seven laps. He brought up the rear of the timesheets, but was within 0.8s of race driver Max Chilton.

Kovalainen and Gonzalez hand their cars back to Giedo van der Garde and Jules Bianchi respectively in the afternoon.

 Pos Driver Team Time Gap Laps 1. Felipe Massa Ferrari 1m34.487s 11 2. Fernando Alonso Ferrari 1m34.564s + 0.077s 19 3. Nico Rosberg Mercedes 1m34.621s + 0.134s 22 4. Sebastian Vettel Red Bull-Renault 1m34.790s + 0.303s 20 5. Paul di Resta Force India-Mercedes 1m34.949s + 0.462s 17 6. Jenson Button McLaren-Mercedes 1m35.069s + 0.582s 22 7. Mark Webber Red Bull-Renault 1m35.101s + 0.614s 19 8. Adrian Sutil Force India-Mercedes 1m35.119s + 0.632s 19 9. Kimi Raikkonen Lotus-Renault 1m35.345s + 0.858s 17 10. Romain Grosjean Lotus-Renault 1m35.611s + 1.124s 14 11. Sergio Perez McLaren-Mercedes 1m35.640s + 1.153s 23 12. Valtteri Bottas Williams-Renault 1m35.783s + 1.296s 16 13. Lewis Hamilton Mercedes 1m35.792s + 1.305s 16 14. Jean-Eric Vergne Toro Rosso-Ferrari 1m36.014s + 1.527s 19 15. Daniel Ricciardo Toro Rosso-Ferrari 1m36.485s + 1.998s 20 16. Pastor Maldonado Williams-Renault 1m36.498s + 2.011s 17 17. Nico Hulkenberg Sauber-Ferrari 1m36.755s + 2.268s 20 18. Esteban Gutierrez Sauber-Ferrari 1m37.214s + 2.727s 21 19. Charles Pic Caterham-Renault 1m37.850s + 3.363s 20 20. Heikki Kovalainen Caterham-Renault 1m38.401s + 3.914s 20 21. Max Chilton Marussia-Cosworth 1m39.445s + 4.958s 12 22. Rodolfo Gonzalez Marussia-Cosworth 1m40.215s + 5.728s 7 

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Series Formula 1
Drivers Felipe Massa
Author Matt Beer
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