Chinese GP - Friday - Practice Session 1 Report

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Fernando Alonso, Chinese GP 2014

Fernando Alonso, Chinese GP 2014 

 © Active Pictures

 

The sky and the day were murky and grey as Free Practice 1 for the Chinese Grand Prix got underway. The session ended without the typical Mercedes on top of the time sheets. Instead, it was Fernando Alonso who went quickest in his Ferrari. Still, Nico Rosberg ended up in second place in his Mercedes.

Kimi Raikkonen managed only one lap and no lap time in his Ferrari, so the team ended up with one car at the top of the times and the other at the bottom,

The ambient temperature at the start of the 90-minute session was 55 degrees Fahrenheit (13 degrees Centigrade) and the track temperature was 64 degrees Fahrenheit (18 degrees Centigrade.)

Two reserve drivers took part in the session. Giedo van der Garde drove Adrian Sutil's Sauber, and Felipe Nasr replaced Valtteri Bottas in the Williams.

Kevin Magnussen was the first out the 3.387–mile (5.451-km) 16–turn track in his McLaren. Kimi Raikkonen, meanwhile, would not be out on the track for a while because the Ferrari engineers had discovered a problem on his car. Ferrari's new team principal Marco Mattiacci, wearing sunglasses, was in the garage.

After doing their install laps, nobody seemed to be in hurry to set any lap times. Pastor Maldonado had a quick spin at Turn 9 in his Lotus.

17 minutes into the session, it started to drizzle as Felipe Massa topped the times with a lap of 1:42.725 in his Williams. Magnussen soon beat that with a 1:42.695, and then his teammate Jenson Button clocked a 1:42.482. The rain disappeared and the track stayed dry.

20 minutes into the session, and the drivers were now getting in some serious laps. Nico Rosberg went quickest with a 1:41.063 in his Mercedes. He then lowered that to a 1:40.840. Fernando Alonso was second after clocking a 1:41.304 in his Ferrari.

27 minutes into the session, Raikkonen slid into the cockpit of his Ferrari

30 minutes into the session, all the drivers were in the garages. Each driver gets an extra set of the harder tires to use in FP1, but they must be used only in the first half hour.

The top six were: Rosberg, Alonso, Lewis Hamilton (Mercedes), Nico Hulkenberg (Force India), Massa and Button.

34 minutes into the session, Raikkonen headed out for his first lap. But he came back in to the pits, and the track was silent with all 22 cars in the garages.

38 minutes into the session, Romain Grosjean broke the sounds of silence in his Lotus.

47 minutes into the session, Daniil Kvyat spun his Toro Rosso at Turn 2. Then his teammate Jean-Eric Vergne posted the third best time with a 1:41.505.

51 minutes into the session, Alonso went quickest – 1:39.783. A couple of minutes later Daniel Ricciardo took over second place with a time of 1:40.772 in his Red Bull.

The Ferrari mechanics were working away on Raikkonen's car that had done only one lap so far.

At the one hour mark, the top six were: Alonso, Ricciardo, Rosberg, Button, Hulkenberg and Magnussen.

Everybody was using the medium Pirelli compound slicks with the white sidewalls.

With 28 minutes remaining in the session, the sky had been brightening throughout the session but it still remained overcast. Jules Bianchi had turned just one lap and has yet to set a time in his Marussia.

With 21 minutes remaining in the session, Grosjean, the only driver on the track, pitted. The quiet times lasted less than two minutes as several drivers were soon back in action.

More drivers headed out. Long runs rather than quick times were the focus of most teams in the closing minutes of FP1. Not so with Rosberg, however, who improved to second place with a time of 1:40.181 before sliding off the track at Turn 6.

With 6 minutes remaining in the session, Bianchi was back on track while Raikkonen remained garage bound.

With 4 minutes remaining in the session, Kvyat spun at Turn 14 and continued.

The top 10 at the end of FP1 were: Alonso, Rosberg, Ricciardo, Button, Hulkenberg, Magnussen, Vergne, Hamilton, Sebastian Vettel (Red Bull) and Massa.


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