Mercedes left no doubt who is the team to beat this season, easily leading first practice in China. Lewis Hamilton proved fastest the morning, more than half a second quicker than his teammate, who in his behalf also had more than half a second on Sebastian Vettel.
Even though Ferrari still appears to be on form, the gap to Mercedes in first practice was considerable. Raikkonen was 4th fastest, and along with Nasr and Ricciardo the only men managing to stay within two seconds off of Hamilton's pace setting lap.
As is common in first free practice sessions, this 90 minute session was marked by several off track moments as drivers tried to find the limits of their cars. Both Mercedes and Toro Rosso drivers, along with Ericsson, Maldonado and the debuting GP2 champion Jolyon Palmer explored parts of the track outside the white lines, none however with much damage.
|1||44||Lewis Hamilton||Mercedes AMG||1:39.033||-||21|
|2||6||Nico Rosberg||Mercedes AMG||1:39.574||0.541||21|
|6||3||Daniel Ricciardo||Red Bull Racing||1:41.029||1.996||21|
|7||26||Daniil Kvyat||Red Bull Racing||1:41.097||2.064||24|
|8||55||Carlos Sainz||Toro Rosso||1:41.112||2.079||23|
|11||13||Pastor Maldonado||Lotus F1||1:41.335||2.302||23|
|12||33||Max Verstappen||Toro Rosso||1:41.575||2.542||28|
|15||30||Jolyon Palmer||Lotus F1||1:41.967||2.934||25|
|16||11||Sergio Perez||Force India||1:42.141||3.108||22|
|18||27||Nico Hulkenberg||Force India||1:42.184||3.151||19|