Nico Rosberg has put his Mercedes at the top of the timesheets ahead of Ferrari’s Kimi Räikkönen and teammate Lewis Hamilton in Friday practice for the Spanish Formula 1 Grand Prix.

The German registered a time of 1:23.922 around the Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya, two-and-a-half tenths of a second quicker than Räikkönen, while Hamilton finished well off his teammate’s pace, 0.7 seconds behind.

Ferrari had a busy session as they switched tyre compounds over seven times in the session, swapping between the medium and soft compound tyres. Sebastian Vettel posted his fastest lap on a new set of soft tyres to land himself in fourth position, while Räikkönen’s best time was set on a used set of soft compound tyres.

While Ferrari mainly stuck to the medium tyre, Mercedes spent the majority of their session running on the soft compound. Both Rosberg and Hamilton set their fastest lap on a new set of softs, although Hamilton couldn’t put a tidy lap together and fell short of his teammate’s pace.

While the top teams were experimenting with the two softer compounds, Carlos Sainz spent 23 of his 39 laps on the unfavoured hard compound tyre after setting his fastest time early in the session which was good enough for fifth position.

Daniel Ricciardo finished a fraction behind Sainz in sixth with just 0.063 seconds splitting the pair, while Fernando Alonso was 0.033 seconds clear of Max Verstappen in seventh.

The Force India pairing of Sergio Pérez and Nico Hülkenberg rounded out the top ten in ninth and tenth place respectively, as both drivers completed the same programme of tyre selection throughout the session.

The session was briefly red flagged when Jolyon Palmer’s left rear tyre punctured on the main straight, where the tyre delaminated off the rim and Palmer was forced to park his Renault in the Turn 1 run-off.

Jenson Button’s session was also interrupted when he returned to the pits and his McLaren Honda’s engine cut out, forcing him to roll down the pit lane towards his garage. Lucky for both Palmer and Button they were able to get back out on track before the session ended.

Driver Team / Entry Result Laps
1. Nico Rosberg de Mercedes AMG Petronas F1 W07 Hybrid 1:23.922 35
2. Kimi Räikkönen fi Scuderia Ferrari SF16-H + 0.254 31
3. Lewis Hamilton Mercedes AMG Petronas F1 W07 Hybrid + 0.719 27
4. Sebastian Vettel de Scuderia Ferrari SF16-H + 1.095 35
5. Carlos Sainz Jr es Scuderia Toro Rosso Ferrari STR11 + 1.209 39
6. Daniel Ricciardo Red Bull Racing Tag Heuer RB12 + 1.272 37
7. Fernando Alonso es McLaren-Honda MP4-31 + 1.420 31
8. Max Verstappen nl Red Bull Racing Tag Heuer RB12 + 1.453 31
9. Sergio Pérez Sahara Force India Mercedes VJM09 + 1.515 32
10. Nico Hülkenberg de Sahara Force India Mercedes VJM09 + 1.531 35
11. Valtteri Bottas fi Williams Martini Racing Mercedes FW38 + 1.786 30
12. Jenson Button McLaren-Honda MP4-31 + 1.971 20
13. Romain Grosjean fr Haas F1 Ferrari VF-16 + 1.977 33
14. Kevin Magnussen dk Renault Sport F1 Team RS16 + 2.232 40
15. Daniil Kvyat ru Scuderia Toro Rosso Ferrari STR11 + 2.453 44
16. Felipe Massa br Williams Martini Racing Mercedes FW38 + 2.569 36
17. Jolyon Palmer Renault Sport F1 Team RS16 + 2.848 16
18. Pascal Wehrlein de Manor Racing Mercedes MRT5 + 3.038 40
19. Rio Haryanto id Manor Racing Mercedes MRT5 + 3.330 39
20. Felipe Nasr br Sauber F1 Team Ferrari C35 + 3.890 40
21. Esteban Gutiérrez Haas F1 Ferrari VF-16 + 4.283 9
22. Marcus Ericsson Sauber F1 Team Ferrari C35 + 4.579 42

Image via Mercedes AMG Petronas F1 Team

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Josh Kruse

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