It must be obvious to say now this season, but Mercedes AMG Petronas has finished fastest in the first Free Practice session at the British Grand Prix.
Setting a time of 1:35.424, Nico Rosberg was easily the fastest man on track – indeed he was the only driver to break the 1:35 barrier – team mate Lewis Hamilton could only manage 1:36.155 as he fell behind the German.
It was a close run thing for Rosberg at points as his ERS system suffered a failure for five minutes during the middle of the session, thankfully for the team it turned out to be a non issue.
In third place, and looking longingly towards Sunday was Fernando Alonso in a Ferrari that seems to be on the money. He was only one tenth behind Hamilton with team mate Kimi Raikkonen in fifth and half a second behind the Spaniard.
However, while it was a good day for the Scuderia it was a very bad one for Williams Martini Racing. Susie Wolff was first to suffer dramas on her debut session in a Grand Prix weekend, she only completed four laps before she had to pull the car off at Club with oil pressure issues. She wouldn’t go out again as the warnings ended up being terminal.
If that wasn’t bad enough for Sir Frank, Felipe Massa also ended his session early after a big shunt coming out of Stowe. Running wide onto the Astro Turf, the Brazilian lost the back end of the car which went spinning across the track and impacting with the barriers just before pit entry.
That brought out the red flag for about 20 minutes as the debris was cleared and as the session restarted it was bad news for Pastor Maldonado who stopped at the exit to the pits and had to be pushed back to the garage with an as of yet unknown issue.
Indeed that bad form stretched down the pit lane to Caterham who are running their first weekend under new ownership. Robin Frijns, who was sitting in for Kamui Kobayashi, only really got his session going in the last half an hour after technical problems curtailed any running in the opening hour.
The second Free Practice session gets underway at 2pm and The Checkered Flag will be live blogging the entire session.