Nico Rosberg beat Ferrari’s Kimi Raikkonen and Mercedes team-mate Lewis Hamilton to go fastest in the practice session for this weekends Spanish Grand Prix. World champion Hamilton was .2 of a second slower on his fastest lap before losing more time in traffic.
Raikkonen’s team-mate Sebastian Vettel was fourth after a scrappy session leaving him four tenths behind. Carlos Sainz put in a good performance for Toro Rosso going fifth ahead of Red Bull’s Daniel Ricciardo and former team-mate Max Verstappen.
The Red Bull trio were split by the McLaren of Fernando Alonso between Riccardo and Verstappen. But both Red Bull drivers Riccardo and Verstappen were within a half a second of each other, while Daniil Kyvat appeared to struggle only going fifteenth.
Alonso showed that’s McLaren’s raft of car upgrades are showing signs of progress. The team have new front and rear wings in Barcelona, as well as brake duct and floor changes on the MP4-31.
It was a difficult day for Williams with Valtteri Bottas 11th and Felipe Massa only 16th, and for Reanult’s Jolyon Palmer. Palmer’s tyre deflate on the main straight soon after the session began bringing out the red flag.
The tyre deflated on the main straight which brought out the virtual safety car was deployed, before the session was red flagged for eight minutes and its debris were cleared away.
Palmer told BBC News “The rear left let go. The car wasn’t feeling fantastic before so we need to get it back and find out what’s going on.”