On the first day of dry running, Nico Rosberg topped the timesheets ahead of his team-mate Lewis Hamilton by just under three-tenths of a second.
Rosberg’s time of 1:33.995 on the medium tyre was too good for Hamilton’s best, while Daniel Ricciardo was a further two-tenths of a second behind for Red Bull Racing.
The two Williams drivers of Valtteri Bottas and Felipe Massa ended the session in fourth and fifth place respectively ahead of the Ferrari of Kimi Raikkonen, who was one second slower than Rosberg’s benchmark. His team-mate Sebastian Vettel could only manage a best time of 1:35.222, 1.2 seconds off the pace.
Max Verstappen slotted in between the Ferrari pair, while Carlos Sainz finished in 10th position on the Toro Rosso, three-tenths of a second slower than Lotus’ Romain Grosjean.
Nico Hulkenberg was the best placed Force India in 11th ahead of Jenson Button in the McLaren. Button had complained of “massive understeer” throughout the session and struggled to get the setup of his car right. Marcus Ericsson’s Sauber was a fraction slower behind in 13th position.
Image via Mercedes AMG F1 Petronas