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Japanese GP: Nico Rosberg outshines Lewis Hamilton in practice one

Nico Rosberg beat Formula 1 title rival Lewis Hamilton to the quickest time in opening practice for the Japanese Grand Prix

Championship leader Rosberg clocked a 1m32.431s to finish 0.215 seconds clear of his Mercedes team-mate, with Ferrari's Sebastian Vettel eight tenths back in third.

Hamilton and Rosberg were evenly matched in the first and third sectors, with the former losing the time in the middle sector.

Rosberg set the early place with a 1m33.751s, two tenths clear of Hamilton, and maintained that advantage when Mercedes fitted fresh softs later in the session.

Kimi Raikkonen was fourth quickest, two tenths shy of his Ferrari team-mate, with the Red Bull duo of Daniel Ricciardo and Max Verstappen fifth and sixth respectively and the best of those on mediums rather than softs.

Nico Hulkenberg outpaced Force India team-mate Sergio Perez for seventh with Fernando Alonso and Valtteri Bottas completing the top 10.

Alonso snapped into a spin as he turned into the first part of Spoon, clouting the barrier hard and damaging his McLaren's rear wing.

He recovered to the pits but ended the session with just 10 laps to his name after Honda found he had damaged the new lightweight engine exhaust.

Romain Grosjean also had an off-track excursion, skating off at the second Degner.

The Frenchman said on team radio "the brake doesn't brake", having tapped the front wing on the barrier before reversing out and retreating to the pits.

Jolyon Palmer, who scored his first F1 point in Malaysia last week, finished bottom of the timesheet and ended his session early because of an electrical fault.

PRACTICE ONE RESULTS:

Pos Driver Car Time Gap Laps
1 Nico Rosberg Mercedes 1m32.431s - 24
2 Lewis Hamilton Mercedes 1m32.646s 0.215s 21
3 Sebastian Vettel Ferrari 1m33.525s 1.094s 19
4 Kimi Raikkonen Ferrari 1m33.817s 1.386s 17
5 Daniel Ricciardo Red Bull/Renault 1m34.112s 1.681s 23
6 Max Verstappen Red Bull/Renault 1m34.379s 1.948s 26
7 Nico Hulkenberg Force India/Mercedes 1m34.530s 2.099s 28
8 Sergio Perez Force India/Mercedes 1m34.767s 2.336s 30
9 Fernando Alonso McLaren/Honda 1m35.003s 2.572s 10
10 Valtteri Bottas Williams/Mercedes 1m35.381s 2.950s 31
11 Daniil Kvyat Toro Rosso/Ferrari 1m35.446s 3.015s 23
12 Carlos Sainz Jr. Toro Rosso/Ferrari 1m35.672s 3.241s 27
13 Jenson Button McLaren/Honda 1m35.677s 3.246s 24
14 Romain Grosjean Haas/Ferrari 1m35.688s 3.257s 17
15 Felipe Nasr Sauber/Ferrari 1m35.967s 3.536s 15
16 Felipe Massa Williams/Mercedes 1m36.169s 3.738s 23
17 Esteban Gutierrez Haas/Ferrari 1m36.219s 3.788s 21
18 Marcus Ericsson Sauber/Ferrari 1m36.294s 3.863s 19
19 Kevin Magnussen Renault 1m36.822s 4.391s 30
20 Esteban Ocon Manor/Mercedes 1m37.797s 5.366s 29
21 Pascal Wehrlein Manor/Mercedes 1m37.966s 5.535s 24
22 Jolyon Palmer Renault 1m37.992s 5.561s 13


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