2012 Chinese GP Winner Nico Rosberg set the pace at the first practice session for this year’s Chinese Grand Prix with a scintillating time that left his rivals reeling in his wake.
The German blitzed team-mate Lewis Hamilton by almost half a second with a laptime of 1:36:717, the only driver to dip below the 1:37:00 barrier in the whole hour and a half long session.
Red Bull followed another half second behind, with Mark Webber comfortably staying 0.3 ahead of arch-nemesis and Malaysian Winner Sebastian Vettel. Fernando Alonso was mere hundredths behind the reigning World Champion, while Jenson Button showed yet more improved pace for McLaren with a solid 6th overall.
Felipe Massa, Adrian Sutil, Romain Grosjean and Paul Di Resta rounded out the top ten.
Kimi Raikkonen struggled for Lotus throughout the session, spinning early on and damaging a precious set of tyres as he grappled with oversteer, but it was a very promising session for Toro Rosso’s Jean Eric Vergne and Williams’ Pastor Maldonado who were closer to the front-runners than previous races.
Sergio Perez was mired down in 16th behind the Sauber of Nico Hulkenberg who also made heavy-going of the morning session, and the Mexican further compounded his woes when he beached his MP4/28 in the pitlane gravel trap after the chequered flag had fallen.
Marussia outperformed Caterham once again, with Jules Bianchi besting team-mate Max Chilton for 19th place.
|3||Mark WEBBER||Red Bull||1:37:658|
|4||Sebastian VETTEL||Red Bull||1:37:942|
|8||Adrian SUTIL||Force India||1:38:125|
|10||Paul DI RESTA||Force India||1:38:561|
|12||Jean Eric VERGNE||Toro Rosso||1:39:057|
|15||Daniel RICCIARDO||Toro Rosso||1:39:336|
|21||Giedo VAN DER GARDE||Caterham||1:42:083|
|22||Ma Qing HUA||Caterham||1:43:545|