Ferrari teammates Fernando Alonso and Felipe Massa have set the pace in a wet/dry opening practice session for this weekend’s Spanish Grand Prix. On his home track, Alonso emerged two-tenths of a second faster than his teammate during a late burst of dry-weather tyre running.
Conditions were damp when the pit lane was opened for the day’s first of two ninety-minute practice sessions. Pirelli had allocated an extra set of prototype hard-compound tyres to each car in the hope of providing more on-track action, but the weather had other ideas, with damp conditions greeting the field for the first two-thirds of play.
Once the track was dry enough, Jean-Éric Vergne was the first runner to post a seriously competitive lap time in his Toro Rosso, prompting the rest of the runners to do the same.
Alonso ultimately emerged quickest, posting his best lap on his final timed lap as the chequered flag was unfurled to indicate the end of the session. Massa wound up second-quickest, with his session punctuated by several off-track excursions through the gravel and tarmac run-off areas as he explored the limits of adhesion on Pirelli’s intermediate tyres.
Vergne ultimately finished third-quickest, ahead of fellow Frenchman Romain Grosjean in the Lotus, with the pair followed closely by Adrian Sutil, Lewis Hamilton and Valtteri Bottas.
Kimi Räikkönen, Nico Rosberg and Paul di Resta completed the top-ten places, demoting long-time session leader Daniel Ricciardo into eleventh place.
The weather conditions – of which more of the same is expected for the afternoon’s second practice session – no doubt played havoc with many teams’ hopes of evaluating their various upgrade packages.
The Red Bull Racing pair of Sebastian Vettel and Mark Webber both finished well down the order, while McLaren opted for a limited amount of running of its upgraded MP4-28. Sergio Pérez finished thirteenth-quickest, while Jenson Button toured the circuit just six times and opted not to post a lap time.
2013 Spanish Formula 1 Grand Prix – Free Practice 1 Session Times:
|1.||Fernando Alonso||Scuderia Ferrari F138||1:25.252||20|
|2.||Felipe Massa||Scuderia Ferrari F138||1:25.455||+ 0.204||20|
|3.||Jean-Éric Vergne||Scuderia Toro Rosso Ferrari STR8||1:25.667||+ 0.415||25|
|4.||Romain Grosjean||Lotus F1 Renault E21||1:26.042||+ 0.790||21|
|5.||Adrian Sutil||Force India Mercedes VJM06||1:26.212||+ 0.960||24|
|6.||Lewis Hamilton||Mercedes AMG Petronas F1W04||1:26.374||+ 1.122||19|
|7.||Valtteri Bottas||Williams Renault FW35||1:26.456||+ 1.204||20|
|8.||Kimi Räikkönen||Lotus F1 Renault E21||1:26.614||+ 1.362||21|
|9.||Nico Rosberg||Mercedes AMG Petronas F1W04||1:26.621||+ 1.369||21|
|10.||Paul di Resta||Force India Mercedes VJM06||1:26.755||+ 1.503||16|
|11.||Daniel Ricciardo||Scuderia Toro Rosso Ferrari STR8||1:26.940||+ 1.688||26|
|12.||Nico Hülkenberg||Sauber Ferrari C32||1:27.061||+ 1.809||24|
|13.||Sergio Pérez||McLaren Mercedes MP4-28||1:27.135||+ 1.883||6|
|14.||Esteban Gutiérrez||Sauber Ferrari C32||1:27.250||+ 1.998||26|
|15.||Pastor Maldonado||Williams Renault FW35||1:27.576||+ 2.324||24|
|16.||Heikki Kovalainen||Caterham Renault CT03||1:28.373||+ 3.121||14|
|17.||Giedo van der Garde||Caterham Renault CT03||1:28.600||+ 3.348||19|
|18.||Jules Bianchi||Marussia Cosworth MR02||1:28.887||+ 3.635||14|
|19.||Sebastian Vettel||Red Bull Racing Renault RB9||1:29.457||+ 4.205||11|
|20.||Mark Webber||Red Bull Racing Renault RB9||1:29.473||+ 4.221||21|
|21.||Rodolfo González||Marussia Cosworth MR02||1:30.314||+ 5.062||21|
|22.||Jenson Button||McLaren Mercedes MP4-28||no time||6|