As expected it was Mercedes AMG who hit the ground running in first practice for Sunday’s Bahrain Grand Prix, with Lewis Hamilton and Nico Rosberg setting the pace ahead of the Ferrari of Fernando Alonso in third.
Hamilton recorded a 1:37:502 to beat his team-mate to the top spot by 0.2 seconds, while Alonso was a further 0.2 back ahead of the impressive Nico Hulkenberg in 4th for Force India. Jenson Button was 5th for McLaren, who added a new title sponsor – Gulf Air – for this weekend, with Kimi Raikkonen and Kevin Magnussen in 6th and 7th.
Red Bull remained quiet throughout the session with Sebastian Vettel and Daniel Ricciardo in 10th and 14th places respectively, 1.8 and 2.9 seconds off the pace.
Felipe Nasr and Robin Frijns deputised for Valtteri Bottas and Kamui Kobayashi at Williams and Caterham, while Giedo van der Garde got back behind the wheel for Sauber in place of Esteban Gutierrez.
The session has largely been written off as unrepresentative by the teams and drivers as it was run during daylight hours and under hotter temperatures than those expected when qualifying and the race are due to occur.
There were a couple of minor incidents during the session; Alonso was forced to stop in the pitlane when he realised Ferrari had fitted a rogue soft tyre to his otherwise uniform set of medium compound Pirelli’s, and it was left to his embarassed pit crew to wheel the Spaniard back to the garage. Force India had to mount their own jog to the end of the pitlane after the session had finished to recover Sergio Perez’s car after the Mexican failed to rejoin the track before the red exit light was lit to signal the 90 minute FP1 was over.
FP2 is due to start at 16:00GMT.
CLASSIFICATION – FP1 – 2014 Bahrain GP
|18||Van Der Garde||Sauber||+3.411|