Fernando Alonso and Kimi Räikkönen have greeted the arrival of Ferrari’s new team principal, Marco Mattiaci, in contrasting ways as Friday practice for the Chinese Grand Prix got underway.

The pair book-ended the timesheets at the end of the first session: Alonso was quickest overall, while Räikkönen didn’t post a time after his F14T was hit with technical issues.

With the session held in very cold and overcast conditions, it was Nico Rosberg’s Mercedes which led the proceedings early on as a number of runners took to the track in the first half-hour on the specifically-assigned set of Pirelli Medium compound tyres.

But Alonso moved to the top of the timing screens just before that half-hour period ended, and he remained there for the rest of the 90-minute session.

Rosberg finished up second-quickest, almost four-tenths of a second slower than the Spaniard, while Daniel Ricciardo was third-fastest in his Red Bull Racing Renault to ensure all three engine manufacturers were represented in the top three spots on the timesheets.

The McLarens of Jenson Button and Kevin Magnussen were next up, sandwiching Nico Hülkenberg’s Force India, while Jean-Éric Vergne was seventh-fastest in his Toro Rosso, followed by Bahrain Grand Prix winner Lewis Hamilton’s Mercedes and reigning champion Sebastian Vettel’ Red Bull. Felipe Massa rounded out the top ten in his Williams.

F1 rookie Daniil Kvyat explored all corners of the Shanghai International Circuit with a number of spins in his Toro Rosso en route to the eleventh-fastest time. He wound up two-tenths of a second faster than Romain Grosjean, who Lotus held together for 24 laps in what was a productive session for the black and gold cars. Teammate Pastor Maldonado was, however, over 1.5 seconds slower than the Frenchman.

Friday’s second practice session at Shanghai gets underway at 2:00pm local time (GMT +8).

2014 Chinese Formula 1 Grand Prix – Free Practice 1 Results:

Driver Team / Entry Time Gap Laps
1. Fernando Alonso Scuderia Ferrari F14T 1:39.783 20
2. Nico Rosberg Mercedes AMG Petronas F1W05 1:40.181 + 0.398 16
3. Daniel Ricciardo Infiniti Red Bull Racing Renault RB10 1:40.772 + 0.989 23
4. Jenson Button McLaren Mercedes MP4-29 1:40.970 + 1.187 23
5. Nico Hülkenberg Force India Mercedes Mercedes VJM07 1:41.175 + 1.392 16
6. Kevin Magnussen McLaren Mercedes MP4-29 1:41.366 + 1.583 20
7. Jean-Éric Vergne Scuderia Toro Rosso Renault STR9 1:41.505 + 1.722 26
8. Lewis Hamilton Mercedes AMG Petronas F1W05 1:41.560 + 1.777 9
9. Sebastian Vettel Infiniti Red Bull Racing Renault RB10 1:41.629 + 1.846 19
10. Felipe Massa Williams Martini Racing Mercedes FW36 1:41.699 + 1.916 14
11. Daniil Kvyat Scuderia Toro Rosso Renault STR9 1:41.977 + 2.194 23
12. Romain Grosjean Lotus F1 Team Renault E22 1:42.090 + 2.307 24
13. Felipe Nasr Williams Martini Racing Mercedes FW36 1:42.265 + 2.482 13
14. Giedo van der Garde nl Sauber F1 Team Ferrari C33 1:42.615 + 2.832 16
15. Sergio Pérez Force India Mercedes Mercedes VJM07 1:42.733 + 2.950 13
16. Pastor Maldonado Lotus F1 Team Renault E22 1:43.731 + 3.948 22
17. Kamui Kobayashi jp Caterham F1 Team Renault CT05 1:44.038 + 4.255 16
18. Esteban Gutiérrez Sauber F1 Team Ferrari C33 1:44.162 + 4.379 17
19. Jules Bianchi Marussia F1 Team Ferrari MR03 1:44.270 + 4.487 7
20. Max Chilton Marussia F1 Team Ferrari MR03 1:44.782 + 4.999 20
21. Marcus Ericsson Caterham F1 Team Renault CT05 1:44.835 + 5.052 22
22. Kimi Räikkönen Scuderia Ferrari F14T no time 1

Image via XPB Images

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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.