Fernando Alonso and Ferrari drew first blood in the 2014 Formula One season by topping the first practice session at Albert Park. The Spaniard led McLaren’s Jenson Button in a quiet 90 minutes, in every sense of the word, as teams and fans alike got to grips with the new-look and new-sounding Formula One.
Alonso was the very first driver to take to the track at 12:30pm local time but ironically given the winter they’ve had, the first timed lap was set by, of all cars, a Red Bull as Daniel Ricciardo clocked a 1:37.290. The times soon tumbled with the home favourite dropping into the 1:34s despite an excursion at turn 12 but Nico Rosberg knocked him off top spot with a 1:32.784 at the half hour mark. Mercedes’ morning had got off to the worst possible start though with Lewis Hamilton breaking down on his very first out-lap due to an oil pressure sensor problem.
McLaren had a relatively trouble free start with Kevin Magnussen settling into competitive Formula One action but it was his highly-experienced teammate that moved to the top of the leaderboard midway through with a 1:32.357. The new-look Williams of Valtteri Bottas and Felipe Massa slotted in behind but Alonso ensured a Ferrari would head the trio of Mercedes-powered machines with a 1:31.840, half a second clear.
Behind the top four, Daniel Ricciardo took fifth for Red Bull having completed an impressive 26 laps while Nico Rosberg separated the Australian from his new teammate Sebastian Vettel in seventh. Magnussen’s debut session brought the eighth fastest time with Kimi Raikkonen and Jean-Eric Vergne completing the top ten. Both Toro Rossos found the gravel traps on a regular basis with Vergne and Kvyat having trouble on the brakes. Their problems paled in comparison to Lotus though who failed to complete a lap all session, Pastor Maldonado having to pit after smoke emerged in his cockpit, not before he’d skated off at turn thirteen.
|2014 ROLEX AUSTRALIAN GRAND PRIX – FREE PRACTICE 1 RESULT|
|1||14. FERNANDO ALONSO||FERRARI||1:31.840|
|2||22. JENSON BUTTON||McLAREN MERCEDES||1:32.357|
|3||77. VALTTERI BOTTAS||WILLIAMS MERCEDES||1:32.403|
|4||19. FELIPE MASSA||WILLIAMS MERCEDES||1:32.431|
|5||3. DANIEL RICCIARDO||RED BULL RACING RENAULT||1:32.599|
|6||6. NICO ROSBERG||MERCEDES||1:32.604|
|7||1. SEBASTIAN VETTEL||RED BULL RACING RENAULT||1:32.793|
|8||20. KEVIN MAGNUSSEN||McLAREN MERCEDES||1:32.847|
|9||7. KIMI RAIKKONEN||FERRARI||1:32.977|
|10||25. JEAN-ERIC VERGNE||STR RENAULT||1:33.446|
|11||27. NICO HULKENBERG||FORCE INDIA MERCEDES||1:33.533|
|12||11. SERGIO PEREZ||FORCE INDIA MERCEDES||1:33.855|
|13||26. DANIIL KVYAT||STR RENAULT||1:34.272|
|14||21. ESTEBAN GUTIERREZ||SAUBER FERRARI||1:35.578|
|15||99. ADRIAN SUTIL||SAUBER FERRARI||1:36.445|
|16||17. JULES BIANCHI||MARUSSIA FERRARI||1:40.859|
|17||4. MAX CHILTON||MARUSSIA FERRARI||1:46.922|
|18||9. MARCUS ERICSSON||CATERHAM RENAULT||NO TIME|
|19||44. LEWIS HAMILTON||MERCEDES||NO TIME|
|20||10. KAMUI KOBAYASHI||CATERHAM RENAULT||NO TIME|
|21||13. PASTOR MALDONADO||LOTUS RENAULT||NO TIME|
|22||8. ROMAIN GROSJEAN||LOTUS RENAULT||NO TIME|