Mercedes starts fastest as F1 goes on Euro trip


Mercedes driver Lewis Hamilton has come top of the times for the first free practice session as Formula One got its European leg underway in Spain.

Setting a time of 1:27.023 the Brit managed to fight off a charge from former McLaren team mate Jenson Button who seems to have found a car in good form coming into Sunday’s race.

Indeed it was Button, who set 1:27.891 at the hour mark, who was looking likely to claim top honours in this opening session but the Mercedes couldn’t be held back.

One car that could definitely held back was the Red Bull of Sebastian Vettel, the car slowed to a standstill on track at turn five with an issue later to be determined as an electrical failure which meant his session finished around the 25 minute mark.

The four laps the German managed to get in before succumbing to the problem saw him in 20th place with only the Caterhams falling lower.

On the whole it seemed to be a poor day for the German contingent, Nico Rosberg finished an uncharacteristic fifth after completing only nine laps due to a rare fault with his Mercedes Power Unit.

In third place, and a slight silver lining for the Milton Keynes mob was Daniel Ricciardo who seems to be enjoying all the good luck that unfortunately avoided fellow Australian Mark Webber at the team last year.

It was also a good day for Ferrari who ended fourth and sixth for Fernando Alonso and Kimi Raikkonen respectively, a sign that the updates they have badly needed after Bahrain seem to be having the desired impact.

However, one updated that Force India’s Sergio Perez will be hoping the team can implement soon are stronger wing mirror fasteners. There was a strange sight from the in-car camera as the left mirror flew off and swung around the cockpit of the car on its tether – the Mexican pitted at the end of the lap to fix the issue.