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:
Image via XPB Images