Friday, 18 April 2014

Alonso fastest in FP1 as Mattiacci makes his first appearance as Ferrari boss

(Scuderia Ferrari SpA via Twitter)
Ferrari's Fernando Alonso set the fastest time in Free Practice one ahead of Sunday's Chinese Grand Prix. The Spaniard set a benchmark time of 1m 39.783s to end the opening session 0.398s ahead of the Mercedes of Nico Rosberg.
Alonso set the fastest time of the morning, his team mate Kimi Raikkonen on other hand was unhappy with the steering in the F14T and as a result spent most of the session in the garage as he new boss Marco Mattiacci looked on. Raikkonen did manage however to get on track eventually, however could only do one installation lap and didn't set a time. So far it not the return to the Italian team that the Finn would have hoped for.
Red Bull Racing's Daniel Ricciardo was third fastest for the reigning world champions while Jenson Button impressed in the McLaren setting the fourth fastest time finishing just ahead of Force India's Nico Hulkenberg in fifth. While 'The Hulk' had a great FP1, his team mate Sergio Perez was not so lucky and spent most of the session in the garage.
Kevin Magnussen was 6th in the second McLaren just ahead of Toro Rosso's Jean Eric Vergne who continues to show that the Italian team are getting to grips with their new car. The Frenchman finished the session just ahead of the Mercedes of Lewis Hamilton who was 8th fastest. He will be a little disappointed with that result as his team mate ended the session second fastest.
Reigning world champion Sebastian Vettel recovered from a minor off track moment to record the 9th fastest time of the morning just ahead of the Williams Martini Racing car of Felipe Massa who rounded out the top ten.
Daniil Kvyat set the 11th fastest time despite a half spin under braking in his Toro Rosso. The Russian rookie concluded the session just ahead of the Lotus of Romain Grosjean. Felipe Nasr, who was in the Williams this morning in place of Valtteri Bottas was 13th fastest for the Grove based team just ahead of the Sauber of Giedo Van Der Garde, who himself was in the C33 in place of Adrian Sutil.
Despite his earlier problems Force India's Sergio Perez managed to get on track and some valuable running in to set the 15th fastest time ahead of Pastor Maldonado in the second Lotus who had a few on track issues during the session. The Venezuelan appeared to lose concentrate and spun his E22.
It was an impressive morning for Caterham's Kamui Kobayashi who set the 17th fastest and ended the session as the fastest of the 'new teams'. Esteban Gutierrez had a problematic session in the second Sauber and after spending the morning in the garage set the 18th fastest time just ahead of the Marussia of Jules Bianchi and Max Chilton with his team mate Marcus Ericsson rounding out the time sheets because as I mentioned earlier Kimi Raikkonen was the only driver not to have set a time.
©Ben Johnston 2014

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