Ferrari has topped the timesheets in the opening practice session for the Spanish Grand Prix, as Sebastian Vettel posted a fastest lap of 1:23.951 which was 0.7 seconds quicker than last year’s pole time set by Nico Rosberg.

Kimi Räikkönen ended the session in second position making it a one-two for Ferrari, while current championship leader Rosberg finished one-tenth of a second quicker than Mercedes teammate Lewis Hamilton in third.

While the Ferrari’s spent their session mainly running on the soft tyre, with a brief stint on the hards, Mercedes accumulated 67 laps only using the mediums, with Rosberg clocking up 34 laps to Hamilton’s 33.

Daniel Ricciardo continued his solid form by slotting his Red Bull Racing TAG Heuer in fifth position, although he was 1.4 seconds off Vettel’s pace. His new teammate Max Verstappen impressed on his debut for the Milton Keynes outfit, finishing just under two-tenths of a second behind Ricciardo despite struggling early with minor technical gremlins.

Daniil Kvyat may have taken a bit longer to reintegrate back into Scuderia Toro Rosso as he finished in twelfth position, while Carlos Sainz was half a second quicker in eighth position.

Sergio Pérez had his session interrupted when he was forced to return to the pits after five laps as smoke started to pour out of his engine due to an oil leak. The problem sidelined him to the garage for more than 45 minutes which limited running to test new upgrades Force India introduced this weekend.

The Mexican returned to the track with 15 minutes to spare to complete four additional laps.

His teammate Nico Hülkenberg ran the new slimmer front wing in a trouble-free session, as the German went on to lap the Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya 27 times with a fastest lap of 1:26.938 to put him in thirteenth position.

Only a gap of 0.025 seconds split the Haas F1 Team pair, with Romain Grosjean narrowly edging Esteban Gutiêrrez for sixteenth position. Grosjean was vocal in his criticism of the Haas, radioing the team that “the car is a disaster at low speeds”.

Esteban Ocon deputised for Jolyon Palmer at Renault, however he  only got to complete a total of six laps due to technical issues and failed to set a timed lap.

Driver Team / Entry Result Laps
1. Sebastian Vettel de Scuderia Ferrari SF16-H 1:24.089 22
2. Kimi Räikkönen fi Scuderia Ferrari SF16-H + 0.138 18
3. Nico Rosberg de Mercedes AMG Petronas F1 W07 Hybrid + 0.503 34
4. Lewis Hamilton Mercedes AMG Petronas F1 W07 Hybrid + 0.660 33
5. Daniel Ricciardo Red Bull Racing Tag Heuer RB12 + 1.465 25
6. Max Verstappen nl Red Bull Racing Tag Heuer RB12 + 1.634 29
7. Valtteri Bottas fi Williams Martini Racing Mercedes FW38 + 1.721 36
8. Carlos Sainz Jr es Scuderia Toro Rosso Ferrari STR11 + 2.127 19
9. Felipe Massa br Williams Martini Racing Mercedes FW38 + 2.235 32
10. Fernando Alonso es McLaren-Honda MP4-31 + 2.292 18
11. Kevin Magnussen dk Renault Sport F1 Team RS16 + 2.625 30
12. Daniil Kvyat ru Scuderia Toro Rosso Ferrari STR11 + 2.632 21
13. Nico Hülkenberg de Sahara Force India Mercedes VJM09 + 2.987 27
14. Sergio Pérez Sahara Force India Mercedes VJM09 + 3.113 9
15. Felipe Nasr br Sauber F1 Team Ferrari C35 + 3.302 27
16. Romain Grosjean fr Haas F1 Ferrari VF-16 + 3.307 17
17. Esteban Gutiérrez Haas F1 Ferrari VF-16 + 3.332 18
18. Marcus Ericsson Sauber F1 Team Ferrari C35 + 3.441 24
19. Jenson Button McLaren-Honda MP4-31 + 3.659 19
20. Pascal Wehrlein de Manor Racing Mercedes MRT5 + 4.133 29
21. Rio Haryanto id Manor Racing Mercedes MRT5 + 5.101 34
22. Esteban Ocon fr Renault Sport F1 Team RS16 no time 6

Image via XPB Images

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Josh Kruse

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