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Singapore GP 2014

SEPTEMBER 19, 2014

Practice 1 Report - Ferrari Flyer

Fernando Alonso, Singapore GP 2014
© Active Pictures


Ferrari driver Fernando Alonso turned the fastest lap time in Free Practice 1 for the Singapore Grand Prix. He edged out Mercedes driver Lewis Hamilton by 0.122 of a second. Hamilton's teammate Rosberg wound up third quickest ahead of Red Bull duo Sebastian Vettel and Daniel Ricciardo.

The ambient temperature at the start of the session was degrees 84 Fahrenheit (29 degrees Centigrade) and the track temperature was 100 degrees Fahrenheit (38 degrees Centigrade.)

Marussia's Max Chilton was the first driver out on the 3.147‘‚    ‚  ‚mile (5.065-km) 23‘‚    ‚  ‚turn street track.

The drivers were using Pirelli's soft compound slicks with the yellow sidewalls.

9 minutes into the session, Lewis Hamilton (Mercedes) set the first time: 1:52.748. He was the only driver on the track while the rest were in the garages after their install laps. He then lowered his time to a 1:51.934.

16 minutes into the session, Sebastian Vettel, who had been doing some constant speed runs for aerodynamic checks in his Red Bull, clocked a 1:52.056 for second place ahead of Nico Rosberg who had posted a 1:53.613 in his Mercedes.

18 minutes into the session, Rosberg jumped ahead with a 1:51.640. But he was soon on the radio complaining about gearbox problems.

The session started at 6 p.m. local time, so it was still light, but the floodlights around the track were already on.

20 minutes into the session, only Hamilton and Esteban Gutierrez (Sauber) were in the pits while the other 20 drivers were pounding around the track.

21 minutes into the session, Kimi Raikkonen turned a 1:51.269 in his Ferrari.

23 minutes into the session, Rosberg, with the gearbox reset, clocked a 1:51.031. Meanwhile, Kamui Kobayashi spun his Caterham at Turn 5 and continued.

Now it was Fernando Alonso in the other Ferrari who was on the move, and moved into second with a 1:51.180.

26 minutes into the session, Vettel moved ahead with a 1:50.411. He has always been quick around this track. Alonso was second, Rosberg third, Raikkonen fourth, and Daniel Ricciardo (Red Bull) fifth. Hamilton rounded out the top six.

The order remained the same at the half-hour mark with Sergio Perez (Force India), Nico Hulkenberg (Force India), Kevin Magnussen (McLaren) and Felipe Massa (Williams) rounding out the top 10. Jenson Button (McLaren) was at the bottom of the pile.

Gutierrez, meanwhile, had completed only two laps because of electronic woes on his Sauber.

38 minutes into the session, it was pretty quiet out there with only Mercedes drivers Hamilton and Rosberg on track. They were on the move, too, as Hamilton turned a 1:49.178 and Rosberg a 1:49.205

A sign of the new times and the restrictions on radio conversations: Hamilton inquired about the tires on other cars. His engineer responded: "We'll just carry on with our program and discuss it in the garage."

Just past the midway point of FP1 the top six were: Hamilton, Rosberg, Vettel, Alonso, Raikkonen and Ricciardo. Only the Mercedes drivers were below the 1 minute 50 second level.

With 35 minutes remaining in the session, Ricciardo moved up to fourth with a time of 1:50.670 compared to Vettel's 1:50.017.

At the one hour mark the top six were: Hamilton, Rosberg, Vettel, Ricciardo, Alonso and Raikkonen. Daniil Kvyat had moved his Toro Rosso into seventh place. Vettel came into the pits and radioed the team that he had brushed the wall so they should check the car out.

With 29 minutes remaining in the session, Hamilton and Rosberg lined up at pit exit and headed out together.

With 27 minutes remaining in the session, Alonso slammed in a 1:49.056 to take P1. Ferrari, however, is usally fast on Friday and slower on Saturday relative to the competition.

Another sign of the new times and the restrictions on radio conversations: Jean Eric Vergne asked if other drivers were improving their lap times after the first lap. His engineer told him to "just keep pushing." Vergne did just that and slotted his Toro Rosso into sixth place. But an ERS problem would end the session for him early.

With 26 minutes remaining in the session, Button was getting some laps in and grabbed eighth place. He complained that his car was bottoming out on the bumpy track.

As the session wound down, the drivers concentrated on long runs on worn tires to gather data for the race.

With 5 minutes remaining in the session, Gutierrez, the problems on his Sauber solved, was doing laps.

With 3 minutes remaining in the session, drama in the Ferrari pit as Raikkonen's right front brake caught on fire

More drama at the end of 90 minutes as Vettel pulled off the track at pit exit and said he probably had an engine failure.

The top 10 at the end of FP1 were: Alonso, Hamilton, Rosberg, Vettel, Ricciardo, Vergne, Raikkonen, Button, Kvyat and Perez.