Fernando Alonso topped the timesheet of the first free practice session ahead of the Spanish GP. The Spanish home driver went quicker than his teammate in the closing minutes as the track was drying up from a damp start of the day.
The morning in Barcelona was ironical as the track was damp. This immediately made the durable Pirelli prototype tyres useless, as drivers opted for the intermediates for the initial running.
With so many updates on various cars, many focused on cautious running through the laps to complete constant speed runs on the main straight. This enables teams to verify wind tunnel tests and is identical to straight line testing. At Red Bull Vettel's car was equipped with a pitot tube array attached the left hand side rear wing endplate. 3 laps later the World Champion returned to the pits and the item was removed.
It was only after about 40 minutes that people started to look for a time as the track was slowly drying, especially on the racing line.
With just 20 minutes left on the clock, Lewis Hamilton is the first to switch to the dry compound tyres. Felipe Massa at the same time is starting to complain of front graining on his intermediates, testing how far the inters can last on a drying track.
Jean-Eric Vergne meanwhile switched to dry tyres early as well, giving the new Pirelli prototypes a run. Ricciardo then also makes the switch but goes for the hard race tyre with Orange markings, also new for this race. As he goes 5 seconds faster than any previous run during this session, images show the rear wing on his Toro Rosso STR8 is entirely covered by flowviz.
The times are quickly tumbling in the final minutes of the session with both Ferrari drivers consistently posting quick times. Hamilton appeared to have similar or even better pace but got stuck in traffic on his final flying lap. Raikkonen ended up in 8th after also seeing his fastest lap ruined by some traffic.
At the chequered flag, Alonso finally improved to end FP1 on top.
|5||15||Adrian Sutil||Force India-Mercedes||1:26.212||0.960||24|
|6||10||Lewis Hamilton||Mercedes AMG||1:26.374||1.122||19|
|9||9||Nico Rosberg||Mercedes AMG||1:26.621||1.369||21|
|10||14||Paul di Resta||Force India-Mercedes||1:26.755||1.503||16|
|17||21||Giedo van der Garde||Caterham-Renault||1:28.600||3.348||19|
|19||1||Sebastian Vettel||Red Bull Racing-Renault||1:29.457||4.205||11|
|20||2||Mark Webber||Red Bull Racing-Renault||1:29.473||4.221||21|