Alonso tops first practice in Spain

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F1 Grand Prix, GP Spain, Circuit de Catalunyaes

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.


13Fernando AlonsoFerrari1:25.252-20
24Felipe MassaFerrari1:25.4550.20320
318Jean-Eric VergneSTR-Ferrari1:25.6670.41525
48Romain GrosjeanLotus-Renault1:26.0420.79021
515Adrian SutilForce India-Mercedes1:26.2120.96024
610Lewis HamiltonMercedes AMG1:26.3741.12219
717Valtteri BottasWilliams-Renault1:26.4561.20420
87Kimi RäikkönenLotus-Renault1:26.6141.36221
99Nico RosbergMercedes AMG1:26.6211.36921
1014Paul di RestaForce India-Mercedes1:26.7551.50316
1119Daniel RicciardoSTR-Ferrari1:26.9401.68826
1211Nico HulkenbergSauber-Ferrari1:27.0611.80924
136Sergio PerezMcLaren-Mercedes1:27.1351.8836
1412Esteban GutierrezSauber-Ferrari1:27.2501.99826
1516Pastor MaldonadoWilliams-Renault1:27.5762.32424
1620Heikki KovalainenCaterham-Renault1:28.3733.12114
1721Giedo van der GardeCaterham-Renault1:28.6003.34819
1822Jules BianchiMarussia-Cosworth1:28.8873.63514
191Sebastian VettelRed Bull Racing-Renault1:29.4574.20511
202Mark WebberRed Bull Racing-Renault1:29.4734.22121
2123Rodolfo GonzalezMarussia-Cosworth1:30.3145.06213
225Jenson ButtonMcLaren-Mercedes---