Fernando Alonso went fastest in a heavily disrupted opening practice ahead of this weekend’s American Grand Prix.
The start of the session was delayed by almost half an hour due to heavy fog. Once it started however, the McLaren pairing of Jenson Button and Sergio Perez made the most of the empty track to go first and second fastest.
The track action was short lived due to the absence of a medical helicopter. A lengthy delay followed until a replacement arrived. It left just over half an hour of running left on the clock of what should have been a 90 minute session.
Predictably, the track soon became busy, and it was Fernando Alonso who set the pace. On the week he was confirmed as a Williams driver for a second year, Valtteri Bottas also starred and briefly knocked Button down to third. The British driver would respond, and ended the session second quickest behind Alonso’s Ferrari.
Esteban Gutierrez completed the disjointed look at the top of the times with a lap good enough for fourth quickest. Behind him were the two Mercedes cars of Rosberg and Hamilton. Massa, Webber, Hulkenberg and Maldonado rounded out the top ten.
Four times champion Sebastian Vettel meanwhile was all the way down in eighteenth as he concentrated on long run pace. He was behind the two Toro Rossos of Ricciardo and Kvyat.
The latter, who will drive for Toro Rosso next year, took the place of Jean Eric Vergne in this session and was only two tenths of Ricciardo’s pace.
Heikki Kovalainen is deputising for Kimi Raikkonen over the next two races. He was one of the first on circuit, and was classified in thirteenth; just two places behind team mate Romain Grosjean.