Nico Rosberg was fastest during the first practice for this weekends Chinese Grand Prix going .15 of a second faster than his Mercedes team-mate Lewis Hamilton. The session wasn’t good for both the Mercedes Hamilton having spun on track twice and Rosberg having a problems with his power unit.
Ferrari Sebastian Vettel was third fastest and Kimi Raikkonen fifth fastest with them being split by the Red Bull of Daniel Ricciardo.
It wasn’t only the Mercedes having problems as Williams’s Felipe Massa brought out the red flag after a tyre came loose from his car twice once after the team repaired the car. Renault’s Kevin Magnussen also suffered a shredded tyre and also was forced to limp back to the pits.
Pirelli says that Massa’s issues were not because of punchers saying they were down to “air loss connected to technical trouble”. They later confirmed that the Williams and Renault problems were not tyre related.
McLaren say the think the problem was because the tyre was rubbing against body work, with Magnussen’s down to debris on the track. Massa was one of two drivers who failed to set a time. The other was Haas’s Esteban Gutierrez who completed just two laps before being consigned to the garage with an electrical issue.
Hamilton led much of the first runs on the white medium tyres working his way down to a 38.1 but Rosberg soon went faster than him after Hamilton had a bad middle sector.
Vettel was the only other driver to get within a second of the Mercedes on the soft tyres. Other good performances came from Carlos Sainz in seventh for Toro Rosso, and Jenson Button in eighth for McLaren
Alonso completed 11 laps prior to a medical to see whether he can continue driving for the remainder of the weekend.