Lewis Hamilton was fastest in the first practice session ahead of this weekend’s Spanish Grand Prix. The Mercedes driver was .02 of a second faster than his Mercedes team-mate Valtteri Bottas with Ferrari’s Kimi Raikkonen third.
The Mercedes drivers looked very evenly matched on track and there first major updates of the season have appeared to allow them to build a second gap over Ferrari.
Hamilton and Bottas set their times early on the mediums, before they did their cool laps and couldn’t improve, later in the session.
Kimi Raikkonen was the fastest prancing horse, going faster than team-mate Sebastian Vettel.
It wasn’t a trouble-free morning for the German, he had a gearbox problem half an hour into the session. But Ferrari managed to get him back on track to finish the session fourth, just over a second down.
However, that wasn’t possible for Fernando Alonso whose session was once again brought to an early end. His McLaren suffered an oil leak, just after he headed onto the track. Stoffel Vandoorne did have a better session, doing twenty-four laps on his way to twelfth.
Once again, Red Bull proved themselves to be the best of the rest with Max Verstappen fifth and four tenths faster than his team-mate Daniel Ricciardo.
But the team spent most of the session carrying out tweaks to their car.
Kevin Magnussen edged out his Haas team-mate Romain Grosjean by a few tenths, with the duo being seventh and eighth quickest times, although Magnussen ran off the road in the closing stages.
While Nico Hulkenberg was ninth fastest in the Renault ahead of Carlos Sainz in the Toro Rosso in tenth.
Sergey Sirotkin was once again in for Jolyon Palmer at Renault, but a water leak on the Renault limited his running to ten laps.
Felipe Massa set the pace early on in the session ending the morning fourteenth fastest. The Williams driver was ahead of Daniil Kvyat, which was limited to 18 laps, the two Saubers and Williams teammate Lance Stroll.
The first session gave us a chance to see the first major upgrades of the season. By far, the Mercedes is the most radical, with a narrower nose and a plough style front nose. It appears that this has allowed them to find more performance and speed.