Nico Rosberg led a Mercedes one-two ahead of Lewis Hamilton in the first practice session for the Japanese Grand Prix.
Fernando Alonso was third in the Ferrari, having only completed 19 laps compared to Rosberg’s 27. The Spaniard’s session was interrupted when he brought the car into the garage for alterations to his rear brakes.
Valtteri Bottas was fourth for the Williams while his team-mate Felipe Massa was 1.5 seconds behind in eleventh position.
Kimi Raikkonen ended the session in fifth, over a second behind Alonso, who also completed 19 laps.
Debutant Max Verstappen impressed many in his first practice session in Formula 1, as he was almost immediately on the pace. His session finished seven minutes early as he experienced a turbo failure which saw him park his Toro Rosso before the Dunlop Curve.
Roberto Merhi made his second appearance for Caterham replacing Kamui Kobayashi in FP1. Merhi struggled to get to grips with the challenging Suzuka circuit, spinning at Spoon and causing Bottas to lock up and narrowly avoid him.
He eventually ironed out the kinks and set his fastest time of 1:41.472, a second and a half slower than Marcus Ericsson in the other Caterham. However he was faster than both Marussia drivers who were limited with their running.
Will Stevens, the former Caterham reserve driver was set to replace Max Chilton for the opening practice session, although a last minute change meant that he was to watch from the sidelines.
The late change saw Chilton sat in the garage for the first 30 minutes of the session as the team had prepped the car for Stevens; however Marussia says his limited running was due to precautionary pedal checks. Jules Bianchi only completed 10 laps due to electrical issues.
2014 Japanese Formula 1 Grand Prix – Free Practice 1 Results:
|Driver||Team / Entry||Time||Gap||Laps|
|1.||Nico Rosberg||Mercedes AMG Petronas F1W05||1:35.461||27|
|2.||Lewis Hamilton||Mercedes AMG Petronas F1W05||1:35.612||+ 0.151||26|
|3.||Fernando Alonso||Scuderia Ferrari F14T||1:36.037||+ 0.576||19|
|4.||Valtteri Bottas||Williams Martini Racing Mercedes FW36||1:36.576||+ 1.115||25|
|5.||Kimi Räikkönen||Scuderia Ferrari F14T||1:37.187||+ 1.726||19|
|6.||Kevin Magnussen||McLaren Mercedes MP4-29||1:37.327||+ 1.866||24|
|7.||Daniel Ricciardo||Infiniti Red Bull Racing Renault RB10||1:37.466||+ 2.005||27|
|8.||Jenson Button||McLaren Mercedes MP4-29||1:36.649||+ 2.188||24|
|9.||Sebastian Vettel||Infiniti Red Bull Racing Renault RB10||1:37.686||+ 2.225||26|
|10.||Daniil Kvyat||Scuderia Toro Rosso Renault STR9||1:37.714||+ 2.253||26|
|11.||Felipe Massa||Williams Martini Racing Mercedes FW36||1:38.012||+ 2.551||22|
|12.||Max Verstappen||Scuderia Toro Rosso Renault STR9||1:38.157||+ 2.696||22|
|13.||Sergio Pérez||Force India Mercedes Mercedes VJM07||1:38.321||+ 2.863||10|
|14.||Nico Hülkenberg||Force India Mercedes Mercedes VJM07||1:38.582||+ 3.121||9|
|15.||Romain Grosjean||Lotus F1 Team Renault E22||1:38.851||+ 3.390||21|
|16.||Adrian Sutil||Sauber F1 Team Ferrari C33||1:39.046||+ 3.585||19|
|17.||Pastor Maldonado||Lotus F1 Team Renault E22||1:39.097||+ 3.636||26|
|18.||Esteban Gutiérrez||Sauber F1 Team Ferrari C33||1:39.318||+ 3.857||18|
|19.||Marcus Ericsson||Caterham F1 Team Renault CT05||1:40.031||+ 4.570||18|
|20.||Roberto Merhi||Caterham F1 Team Renault CT05||1:41.472||+ 6.011||24|
|21.||Jules Bianchi||Marussia F1 Team Ferrari MR03||1:41.580||+ 6.119||10|
|22.||Max Chilton||Marussia F1 Team Ferrari MR03||1:41.757||+ 6.296||15|
Images via Sutton Images