Felipe Massa has hit the top of the opening practice timesheets at the Bahrain Grand Prix

Felipe Massa has led a Ferrari 1-2 in the opening practice session at this weekend’s Bahrain Grand Prix, as the Italian team continues to show the strong form that helped it claim victory at last weekend’s Chinese Grand Prix.

With the entire field concerned over high tyre wear in the very hot conditions, many of the frontrunners left it until late in the 90-minute session before venturing out to set some lap times.

In fact, it took almost an hour before Massa and teammate Fernando Alonso attempted some timed laps, and they immediately moved to the top of the timesheets, remaining there for the rest of the session.

Nico Rosberg was next up in third-fastest, just 0.134 seconds off Massa’s pace in the Mercedes, while reigning World Champion Sebastian Vettel was fourth-fastest.

Force India continued to show its solid early-season pace, with Paul di Resta and Adrian Sutil both running comfortably inside the top-ten, placing fifth- and eighth-fastest respectively.

Jenson Button was sixth-fastest in his McLaren, five spots and half a second quicker than teammate Sergio Pérez, while Mark Webber (seventh) and the Lotus duo of Kimi Räikkönen and Romain Grosjean rounded out the top-ten.

Chinese Grand Prix polesitter Lewis Hamilton was only thirteenth-fastest in his McLaren, although the performance difference to teammate Rosberg could have been down to each driver running considerably different evaluation and set-up programs in this session.

Two drivers made their inaugural appearance of the 2013 season at this session. Recently re-signed Caterham reserve driver Heikki Kovalainen drove in the team’s CT03 and finished nineteenth-fastest, and commented after the session that the car was very unstable at the rear end.

Marussia reserve driver Rodolfo González also had his first outing in the team’s MR02 in place of Giedo van der Garde. The Venezuelan’s running was curtailed after just seven laps when he suffered a gearbox problem.

2013 Bahrain Formula 1 Grand Prix – Free Practice 1 Session Times:

Driver Team Time Gap Laps
1. Felipe Massa BRA Scuderia Ferrari F138 1:34.487   11
2. Fernando Alonso ESP Scuderia Ferrari F138 1:34.564 + 0.077 19
3. Nico Rosberg DEU Mercedes AMG Petronas F1W04 1:34.621 + 0.134 22
4. Sebastian Vettel DEU Red Bull Racing Renault RB9 1:34.790 + 0.303 20
5. Paul di Resta GBR Force India Mercedes VJM06 1:34.949 + 0.462 17
6. Jenson Button GBR McLaren Mercedes MP4-28 1:35.069 + 0.582 22
7. Mark Webber AUS Red Bull Racing Renault RB9 1:35.101 + 0.614 19
8. Adrian Sutil DEU Force India Mercedes VJM06 1:35.119 + 0.632 19
9. Kimi Räikkönen FIN Lotus F1 Renault E21 1:35.345 + 0.858 17
10. Romain Grosjean FRA Lotus F1 Renault E21 1:35.611 + 1.124 14
11. Sergio Pérez MEX McLaren Mercedes MP4-28 1:35.640 + 1.153 23
12. Valtteri Bottas FIN Williams Renault FW35 1:35.783 + 1.296 16
13. Lewis Hamilton GBR Mercedes AMG Petronas F1W04 1:35.792 + 1.305 16
14. Jean-Éric Vergne FRA Scuderia Toro Rosso Ferrari STR8 1:36.014 + 1.527 19
15. Daniel Ricciardo AUS Scuderia Toro Rosso Ferrari STR8 1:36.485 + 1.998 20
16. Pastor Maldonado VEN Williams Renault FW35 1:36.498 + 2.011 17
17. Nico Hülkenberg DEU Sauber Ferrari C32 1:36.755 + 2.268 20
18. Esteban Gutiérrez MEX Sauber Ferrari C32 1:37.214 + 2.727 21
19. Charles Pic FRA Caterham Renault CT03 1:37.850 + 3.363 20
20. Heikki Kovalainen FIN Caterham Renault CT03 1:38.401 + 3.914 20
21. Max Chilton GBR Marussia Cosworth MR02 1:39.445 + 4.958 12
22. Rodolfo González VEN Marussia Cosworth MR02 1:40.215 + 5.728 7

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Richard Bailey

Founder & Chief Editor at MotorsportM8
Hasn't missed a Grand Prix since 1989. Has a soft spot for Minardi. Tattooed with 35+ Grand Prix circuits.