European GP - Friday - Practice Session 1 Report
Rosberg Fastest in Valencia first session
Nico Rosberg's Mercedes (1:41.175) topped the first session of free practice for the European Grand Prix in Valencia, from the McLarens of Lewis Hamilton (1:41.339) and Jenson Button (1:41.383).
The Valencia street circuit is notoriously dusty and dirty on the first day and so the early times may be even less representative than normal, but Mercedes is hopeful of a step forward from its Valencia package, which includes an exhaust system which will enhance the performance of the diffuser.
Robert Kubica's Renault has a similar upgrade and posted the fourth quickest time (1:41.715), ahead of Felipe Massa's Ferrari (1:42.182) and Sebastian Vettel's Red Bull (1:42.216). As ever, Vettel and team mate Mark Webber (1:42.275) were split by a few hundredths, with Michael Schumacher (1:42.312) in close attendance with the second Mercedes.
Fernando Alonso (1:42.421) is also hoping for a strong showing on home territory and ended the opening session ninth fastest.
Williams will have its next significant chassis upgrade at Silverstone but Rubens Barrichello (1:42.463) managed to put one of the FW32s into the top 10, with team mate Nico Hulkenberg a quarter of a second slower and one place further down the order.
Valencia, with its close walls, always has the potential for accidents but the first session was largely incident free but for a short red flag interruption to recover a wing mirror lost from Bruno Senna's HRT.