Russian GP: Lewis Hamilton takes pole for F1’s Sochi debut
Lewis Hamilton claimed pole position for Formula 1’s inaugural Russian Grand Prix, denying Nico Rosberg and Valtteri Bottas at Sochi.
Hamilton outpaced Mercedes team-mate Rosberg by two tenths of a second, with the part both completing three increasingly fast flyers on their sole Q3 run.
Although Rosberg was the faster on their first runs thanks to Hamilton’s conservative opening lap, Hamilton had the edge and took his seventh pole position of the season.
There was a very real threat to the dominance of the Silver Arrows, with Williams driver Bottas putting in a spectacular final lap to challenge for pole position.
The Finn set the fastest sector times of all in the first two sectors, but the rear stepped out at the final corner and he ran wide, which cost him any chance of beating the two Mercedes drivers and left him in third place.
McLaren pairing Jenson Button and Kevin Magnussen continued the strong form for the team in fourth and sixth place, although Magnussen will take a gearbox-change penalty.
They sandwiched arguably the star of qualifying, Daniil Kvyat, who qualified a career-best fifth after a strong performance on home soil.
Daniel Ricciardo was seventh on a weekend of damage limitation for Red Bull, ahead of the two Ferraris of Fernando Alonso and Kimi Raikkonen.
Jean-Eric Vergne, in the second Toro Rosso, was slowest in Q3 and qualified 10th.
Reigning F1 world champion Sebastian Vettel was eliminated in Q2, his final lap only good enough to take 11th, 0.123s slower than Red Bull stablemate Vergne.
Vettel did not report any specific car problems, although he had been struggling with the balance of his Red Bull.
Just behind were the two Force Indias, with Nico Hulkenberg narrowly ahead of Sergio Perez but also set for a penalty.
Esteban Gutierrez won the intra-Sauber fight, over four tenths faster than team-mate Adrian Sutil, the Mexican doing a good job after sitting out Friday morning practice in favour of Sergey Sirotkin.
Lotus driver Romain Grosjean was slowest in Q2, ending up 16th.
Caterham driver Marcus Ericsson continued his recent run of good form with 17th, fastest of those to be eliminated in Q1.
The Swede’s final lap allowed him to jump ahead of Williams driver Felipe Massa, who ended up 18th.
Massa had looked set to qualify well, but a fuel pressure problem that the team did not have time to fix meant that he was down on power.
He did complete eight laps during Q1, but the hobbled car did not have the performance to get into the top 16.
Kamui Kobayashi, in the second Caterham, ended up just a tenth off Massa after improving by almost six tenths on his final run.
This was enough to put him ahead of Lotus driver Pastor Maldonado, who received an apology over the radio for what was described as a “shambles” after a problem delayed him.
He has to serve a five-place grid penalty anyway, a consequence of using his sixth engine during the Japanese GP weekend, so will drop to last.
Max Chilton in the sole Marussia was 21st, just over four tenths slower than Maldonado.
PROVISIONAL STARTING GRID:
|5||Daniil Kvyat||Toro Rosso/Renault||1m39.277s||0.764s|
|6||Daniel Ricciardo||Red Bull/Renault||1m39.635s||1.122s|
|9||Jean-Eric Vergne||Toro Rosso/Renault||1m40.020s||1.507s|
|10||Sebastian Vettel||Red Bull/Renault||1m40.052s||-|
|12||Sergio Perez||Force India/Mercedes||1m40.163s||-|
|17||Nico Hulkenberg||Force India/Mercedes||1m40.058s||-|
** Magnussen, Hulkenberg and Maldonado have had five-place penalties applied
Format: Q1 sets 17th-22nd, Q2 sets 11th-16th, Q3 sets 1st-10th
Russian GP: Lewis Hamilton still in control in final practice
Lewis Hamilton marked himself as favourite for pole position as he set the pace in the final practice session for this weekend’s Formula 1 Russian Grand Prix.
The Mercedes duo were once again the pace setters throughout most of the hour-long session, with Hamilton heading his team-mate Nico Rosberg by 0.290 seconds.
Hamilton ended the practice period in the pits after he spun at the penultimate corner on the lap, seven minutes from the chequered flag. After the spin Hamilton was able to nurse his car across the circuit and into the pitlane.
The main interloper at the top of the timesheets was Valtteri Bottas in his Williams. At one stage he was the quickest runner in the field and ended up splitting the Mercedes drivers. He ultimately finished third overall.
Red Bull’s Daniel Ricciardo was next up ahead of the second Williams of Felipe Massa.
The partisan crowd would have been delighted with the performance of Russian Daniil Kvyat. He was third behind the Mercedes mid-way through the session and finished the hour-long period with the sixth fastest time.
Drivers continued to struggle on the new low-grip surface at the new Sochi Autodrom and in particular a few racers ran wide at the tricky right-handed Turn 4.
Sebastian Vettel set the tenth quickest time, but he appeared to struggle with the grip levels, running wide at number of times throughout the session.
Kimi Raikkonen was seventh, one place ahead of his Ferrari team-mate Fernando Alonso.
The session was red-flagged on the 18 minute mark after Kevin Magnussen brought his McLaren to a stop heading into Turn 4.
On the radio he complained of either a puncture or suspension failure and replays showed how he skilfully managed to keep his car off the wall around Turn 3.
Pastor Maldonado could only manage an installation lap after a problem with the energy recovery system on his car.
To compound his misery, the Lotus driver goes into qualifying with a five-place grid penalty for an engine change that has been carried over from Suzuka.
Nico Hulkenberg also goes into qualifying with a five-place grid penalty for a gearbox change.
The Sochi circuit was bathed in warm sunshine for the lunchtime session and the good weather is set to continue for the rest of the weekend.
|4||Daniel Ricciardo||Red Bull/Renault||1m39.755s||1.029s||16|
|6||Daniil Kvyat||Toro Rosso/Renault||1m40.009s||1.283s||27|
|9||Jean-Eric Vergne||Toro Rosso/Renault||1m40.205s||1.479s||26|
|10||Sebastian Vettel||Red Bull/Renault||1m40.338s||1.612s||21|
|12||Nico Hulkenberg||Force India/Mercedes||1m40.669s||1.943s||23|
|13||Sergio Perez||Force India/Mercedes||1m40.699s||1.973s||26|
Russian GP: Lewis Hamilton ends second practice on top
Lewis Hamilton topped the opening day of practice for the inaugural Formula 1 Russian Grand Prix.
The world championship leader was the only driver to dip under the 1m40s barrier, putting in a best lap of 1m39.630s to take top spot by a massive 0.864s at the new Sochi circuit.
Hamilton had been outpaced by Mercedes team-mate Nico Rosberg by over two tenths of a second when everyone was on the slower medium-compound Pirellis early on.
But after a conservative lap on his first flier on the softs, he took the top spot on his second attempt before further extending his advantage on his final flier, aided by the durability of the tyres that meant drivers could attempt multiple fast laps.
He was the fastest driver in all three sectors of the lap, underlining his advantage.
"I think it’s been good," said Hamilton. "I feel comfortable learning new circuits. Growing up it’s a skill you have to learn quite quickly. It’s the same for everyone. The car’s been feeling really good today.
"The McLarens are very close, which is good for everyone, to be having a race. The track was getting grippier and grippier, rubbering in quite a lot – and there’s a nice flow you get on this track. I’m really enjoying it."
McLaren built on its strong showing in the morning practice session by setting the second-fastest time, although it was Kevin Magnussen who led the way rather than morning star Jenson Button.
Magnussen did hold top spot at one stage before being relegated by Hamilton, but he was able to split the Mercedes.
Rosberg did look set to go at least second fastest before making a mistake on what should have been his quickest lap, running wide at the penultimate corner.
This meant he ended up nine tenths slower than his team-mate, with Ferrari’s Fernando Alonso jumping ahead of him into third place on his third flying lap having left his soft running late.
"It was a good day technically from the engineering perspective," Rosberg said. "It went a bit wrong with my car.
"We tried two different things as a team and my thing didn’t work out. We need to go back on that tomorrow. Other than that OK. It’s a difficult track to get right."
Valtteri Bottas was fifth fastest, recovering from a difficult morning during which he was only able to run on one set of rubber thanks to a problem with the tyre blankets ruining his planned second set of Pirellis.
Felipe Massa, in the second Williams, was seventh fastest, just over a second off Hamilton’s pace, ahead of home hero Daniil Kvyat.
Sebastian Vettel, who complained of a lack of power, which the team suggested over the radio was actually caused by a headwind, was ninth fastest after also leaving his quick run late.
Scuderia Toro Rosso’s Jean-Eric Vergne rounded out the top 10, almost two seconds down.
Kimi Raikkonen and Daniel Ricciardo showed disappointing pace in the session, ending up 11th and 13th, separated by Nico Hulkenberg’s Force India.
The Australian stopped on track with eight minutes remaining and triggering a five-minute red flag, with most drivers heading back out for brief runs when the session was restarted.
Sauber prevailed in its ongoing battle with Lotus, with 15th-placed Adrian Sutil comfortably ahead of Romain Grosjean and Pastor Maldonado.
But Grosjean complained of a problem with the rear of the car, which was hindering him even though he was able to continue.
Esteban Gutierrez was down in 18th on his first experience of the Sochi circuit having missed the morning session to allow Sergey Sirotkin to run.
He ended up ahead of Caterham’s Marcus Ericsson and Max Chilton, driving the lone Marussia with Jules Bianchi’s car left in the garage.
Kamui Kobayashi, who also missed the morning session, with Spaniard Robert Merhi taking over, was slowest, over five seconds down.
|8||Daniil Kvyat||Toro Rosso/Renault||1m41.108s||1.478s||32|
|9||Sebastian Vettel||Red Bull/Renault||1m41.396s||1.766s||30|
|10||Jean-Eric Vergne||Toro Rosso/Renault||1m41.531s||1.901s||33|
|12||Nico Hulkenberg||Force India/Mercedes||1m41.677s||2.047s||27|
|13||Daniel Ricciardo||Red Bull/Renault||1m42.061s||2.431s||25|
|14||Sergio Perez||Force India/Mercedes||1m42.090s||2.460s||29|
Russian GP: Nico Rosberg tops Sochi’s first F1 session for Mercedes
Nico Rosberg set the fastest time in the opening Formula 1 practice session at the inaugural Russian Grand Prix.
The Mercedes driver put in a time just 0.065 seconds quicker than his team-mate Lewis Hamilton.
Jenson Button impressed for McLaren, setting the third quickest time, while his team-mate Kevin Magnussen was fifth. They were split by the Ferrari of Fernando Alonso.
Drivers spent the morning session familiarising themselves with the new 3.6-mile circuit created around Sochi’s Olympic Park and it was evident how little grip the new track had.
Button spun at Turn 8 unharmed, while many drivers ran wide into Turn 2.
Local hero Daniil Kvyat shone in his Toro Rosso, setting the seventh fastest time behind Force India’s Sergio Perez. He was ahead of the second Ferrari of Kimi Raikkonen and his team-mate Jean-Eric Vergne.
The Red Bulls of Daniel Ricciardo and Sebastian Vettel were struggling, finishing 12th and 14th respectively, over 1.5s off the pacesetting Mercedes.
The two Williams were 10th and 11th, with Valtteri Bottas ahead of his team-mate Felipe Massa, although there was a bizarre reason why Bottas was forced to sit out much of the session after a malfunctioning tyre blanket ruined one of his sets of Pirelli tyres.
The session was held in warm and sunny conditions with a air temperature of 20 degrees C.
Aside from the regular drivers the session included Russian Sergey Sirotkin, who took over Esteban Gutierrez’s Sauber, while Roberto Merhi drove Kamui Kobayashi’s Caterham. The latter had a spin at towards the end of the 90-minute session when he pirouetted at Turn 15.
Only one Marussia was fielded for Max Chilton after the team’s decision to not run a second car this weekend following Jules Bianchi’s Suzuka accident.
|6||Sergio Perez||Force India/Mercedes||1m43.129s||0.818s||26|
|7||Daniil Kvyat||Toro Rosso/Renault||1m43.164s||0.853s||29|
|9||Jean-Eric Vergne||Toro Rosso/Renault||1m43.327s||1.016s||24|
|12||Daniel Ricciardo||Red Bull/Renault||1m43.821s||1.510s||25|
|13||Nico Hulkenberg||Force India/Mercedes||1m43.976s||1.665s||21|
|14||Sebastian Vettel||Red Bull/Renault||1m44.506s||2.195s||30|
Kimi Raikkonen: “A quick and demanding track”
Kimi Raikkonen: “Today wasn’t easy and the lack of grip from the track surface, especially in the morning, didn’t help. This is a fast and tough track, very demanding for both car and driver. In the first practice session, on the Hard tyres, we concentrated on testing different set-ups aimed at qualifying and the race, then in the afternoon, we made some changes which brought a partial improvement to the handling of the car. But because of the yellow flags and a technical glitch, I only managed to complete just one good run on the Medium tyres. Now we have a full night’s work ahead of us in order to find a set-up that will allow us to get the car to suit any sort of condition.”
Japanese GP: Lewis Hamilton leads crash-strewn Suzuka practice
Lewis Hamilton set the pace in a crash-strewn second Formula 1 free practice session ahead of the Japanese Grand Prix at Suzuka.
The Mercedes driver outpaced team-mate and 2014 F1 title rival Nico Rosberg by 0.240 seconds when both went for quick runs on the faster medium-compound Pirellis shortly after the halfway mark of the 90-minute session.
Best of the rest was Williams driver Valtteri Bottas, who was 1.201s slower than Hamilton, with McLaren driver and 2011 Japanese GP winner Jenson Button fourth quickest.
Sebastian Vettel was the fastest of the two Red Bulls, just under 1.4s slower than Hamilton, although team-mate Daniel Ricciardo was down in 10th after his session came to a premature end.
The Australian had set the pace early on before a crash at the final right-hand kink led to him hitting the wall head-on.
His Red Bull suffered significant front-left damage and was initially dragged up the hill towards the chicane by the recovery crew.
But after it was left near the chicane, the red flags were deployed to allow it to be cleared up properly, with the delay lasting eight minutes.
Ahead of Ricciardo, Kimi Raikkonen was the faster of the Ferrari drivers, less than a tenth quicker than Fernando Alonso in seventh pace.
Kevin Magnussen, who had a wide moment at Spoon Curve and tore up some artificial grass, and Daniil Kvyat separated the Ferraris from Ricciardo.
Another driver who hit trouble during the session, Jean-Eric Vergne, was 11th fastest.
The Frenchman had sat out the morning session to allow Max Verstappen to make his F1 weekend debut, with the Dutchman suffering an engine failure in the closing minutes of practice one.
Vergne was slightly late joining second practice and then stopped on track before he could set a time.
He was able to return to action later in the session and ended up classified ahead of Nico Hulkenberg’s Force India in 11th.
But the Frenchman had a second problem with four minutes remaining, coming to a halt on the run out of Spoon Curve and triggering a second red flag that brought practice to an early conclusion.
Romain Grosjean was 13th in the stronger of the two Lotus-Renaults ahead of the second Williams of Felipe Massa, the Brazilian unable to set a competitive fast lap to join Bottas near the front as red flag timings and understeer hampered him.
Sauber had a difficult session, with Adrian Sutil 17th fastest and Esteban Gutierrez just behind him despite crashing.
This happened four minutes after the restart following the red flag, when Gutierrez lost it entering Spoon Curve while on what was set to be his fastest lap of the session.
Kamui Kobayashi ended the session slowest of those who completed a flying lap after crashing on his fourth lap of the session.
The rear-end of his Caterham stepped out at Turn 4, and in attempting to correct, the car spun the other way and he backed into the barrier.
Spots of rain late in the session meant that several drivers had brief moments in the closing stages, with Raikkonen and Hulkenberg both having minor offs and Rosberg suffering a big lock up at the hairpin while on a long run.
|5||Sebastian Vettel||Red Bull/Renault||1m36.436s||1.358s||24|
|9||Daniil Kvyat||Toro Rosso/Renault||1m36.943s||1.865s||27|
|10||Daniel Ricciardo||Red Bull/Renault||1m37.186s||2.108s||3|
|11||Jean-Eric Vergne||Toro Rosso/Renault||1m37.219s||2.141s||19|
|12||Nico Hulkenberg||Force India/Mercedes||1m37.504s||2.426s||16|
|15||Sergio Perez||Force India/Mercedes||1m37.786s||2.708s||8|
Japanese GP: Nico Rosberg leads first Suzuka practice for Mercedes
Nico Rosberg edged out Mercedes Formula 1 team-mate Lewis Hamilton in the battle to set the fastest time in the first free practice session for the Japanese Grand Prix.
Rosberg, looking to bounce back from the disappointment of losing his F1 championship lead to Hamilton last time out in Singapore, was fastest by three tenths from Hamilton during the first half an hour of running on the extra set of hard Pirelli tyres made available to all drivers.
Hamilton got closer as both drivers went quicker during the second part of the session, but crucially locked up at the hairpin on his fastest lap and fell 0.151 seconds shy of denying Rosberg the top spot.
Fernando Alonso was best of the rest in third, just over half a second shy of Rosberg’s benchmark.
Amid a tense moment in his relationship with the Ferrari team, Alonso was seen feeding grapes to mechanics and fans in the garage during a brief lull in track action midway through the session.
Williams trialled different parts of a major aerodynamic upgrade package as the Grove team seeks to continue its fight with Ferrari for third place in the constructors’ championship.
Valtteri Bottas survived a big lock-up in the early stages of the session, as he narrowly avoided the spun Caterham of Roberto Merhi on the exit of the Spoon Curve, but went on to set the fourth fastest time, just over half a second shy of Alonso.
Bottas’s team-mate Felipe Massa was 11th fastest in the sister FW36.
Alonso’s Ferrari team-mate Kimi Raikkonen went fifth fastest – a further six tenths back from Bottas – while McLaren’s Kevin Magnussen rounded out the top six.
Magnussen’s team-mate Jenson Button suffered issues with his pit speed limiter and a loose seat. He wound up eighth fastest, behind Red Bull driver Daniel Ricciardo.
Reigning quadruple world champion Sebastian Vettel went ninth fastest in the sister RB10, just fractions of a second clear of Toro Rosso’s Daniil Kvyat.
Formula 3 rookie Max Verstappen (pictured) made his eagerly-anticipated free practice debut for Toro Rosso, replacing Kvyat’s team-mate Jean-Eric Vergne.
The Dutch teenager, who turned 17 a few days ago, had a problem with running at constant speed in third gear initially, as well as some issues with the handling of the STR9, before an engine failure cut his running short during the final 10 minutes.
Verstappen nevertheless looked confident and composed on track as he racked up 22 laps and recorded the 12th fastest time, 0.443s adrift of team-mate Kvyat.
|7||Daniel Ricciardo||Red Bull/Renault||1m37.466s||2.005s||27|
|9||Sebastian Vettel||Red Bull/Renault||1m37.686s||2.225s||26|
|10||Daniil Kvyat||Toro Rosso/Renault||1m37.714s||2.253s||26|
|12||Max Verstappen||Toro Rosso/Renault||1m38.157s||2.696s||22|
|13||Sergio Perez||Force India/Mercedes||1m38.324s||2.863s||10|
|14||Nico Hulkenberg||Force India/Mercedes||1m38.582s||3.121s||9|
Singapore GP: Hamilton beats Rosberg to pole by 0.007s
Lewis Hamilton beat Formula 1 title rival Nico Rosberg to pole position for the Singapore Grand Prix by seven thousandths of a second.
Hamilton was only sixth fastest on his first run in the Q3 top 10 shootout but despite a lock-up at Turn 1 on his final lap, a particularly strong run through the middle part of the lap allowed him to pip Rosberg.
Red Bull locked out the second row, with Daniel Ricciardo third ahead of Sebastian Vettel, just half-a-tenth separating the two.
Fernando Alonso was fifth fastest, only a tenth behind the lead Red Bull, although Ferrari team-mate Kimi Raikkonen was not able to do better than seventh after suffering a car problem on his second run.
Splitting the Ferraris was Felipe Massa, the Williams driver putting in an impressive lap to go fastest in Q3 on first-run times, but only able to make a tiny improvement on his second lap.
Valtteri Bottas was eighth in the second Williams, the Finn unable to improve on his second run.
Kevin Magnussen was ninth, only 0.569s off Hamilton’s pole position time, while Daniil Kvyat was slowest in Q3 after having only one set on super-soft rubber available for the final session.
Jenson Button and Jean-Eric Vergne were in the top 10 in Q2 on their first runs, but with both Williams drivers setting slow times after choosing to run used super-softs for their first run, were always in danger of missing the cut.
They were bumped down to 11th and 12th when Massa and Bottas improved on fresh rubber.
Button was able to improve on his second run, but a lock-up at the hairpin cost him time and he missed the cut by 23 thousandths of a second, ending up 11th.
Vergne was unable to improve on his second run, complaining about front-end grip and suffering a costly lock-up, meaning he qualified 11th.
Force India pairing Nico Hulkenberg and Sergio Perez also both failed to improve on their second runs, ending up 13th and 15th respectively.
They were split by Esteban Gutierrez, showing a strong turn of pace in the upgraded Sauber.
Romain Grosjean was slowest of those who made it to Q2, complaining vociferously over the radio about an engine problem that cost him time.
Adrian Sutil came close to escaping Q1, but failed to relegate Perez into the dropzone with his final lap in the first segment of qualifying and ended up 17th.
Pastor Maldonado blamed a power unit problem on his final run for failing to reach Q2.
He was unable to fully recharge the battery, meaning he was lacking full power on his final lap, ending up 18th, behind Jules Bianchi.
The Frenchman put in a superb lap on his final effort to jump ahead of team-mate Max Chilton, who ended up 21st, with Caterham driver Kamui Kobayashi doing a good job to separate the pair.
Marcus Ericsson joined the session late after the Caterham team had to work flat out to solve an electrical problem that had struck in free practice, ending up last.
|3||Daniel Ricciardo||Red Bull/Renault||1m45.854s||0.173s|
|4||Sebastian Vettel||Red Bull/Renault||1m45.902s||0.221s|
|10||Daniil Kvyat||Toro Rosso/Renault||1m47.362s||1.681s|
|12||Jean-Eric Vergne||Toro Rosso/Renault||1m46.989s||1.308s|
|13||Nico Hulkenberg||Force India/Mercedes||1m47.308s||1.627s|
|15||Sergio Perez||Force India/Mercedes||1m47.575s||1.894s|
Singapore GP: Fernando Alonso and Ferrari back on top in practice
Fernando Alonso was quickest again for Ferrari in third practice for the 2014 Formula 1 Singapore Grand Prix, edging Red Bull’s Daniel Ricciardo by 0.051 seconds.
Nico Rosberg was third fastest for Mercedes, 0.189s off Alonso’s time, with team-mate Lewis Hamilton sixth and 0.439s off the leader.
Most teams ran a typical Saturday programme of long runs on the harder of the two available tyre choices, followed by qualifying simulations on the softer one.
There was a flurry of rain at 1pm local time and it remained cloudy throughout the afternoon, with the ambient temperature steady at around 28C – 10C lower than Friday’s twilight session. Thus it was no surprise to hear drivers complaining of a lack of grip early on.
Ferrari appeared to be the fastest of Mercedes’ rivals based on AUTOSPORT’s analysis of raw pace on Friday, but it was Red Bull’s Ricciardo – whose average long-run pace on super-soft rubber was so impressive on day one – who was quickest early on with a five-lap run on softs.
Rosberg soon beat that benchmark by a full second, though, closely followed by Hamilton, who had a half-spin into Turn 5 that he attributed to an engine glitch.
Ricciardo and Sebastian Vettel, who required an engine change during Friday, then split the Mercedes on their second runs.
Alonso waited until half the session had elapsed before setting out for a long run on softs – and, while his fastest laps were good enough to put him fifth at that point, he was a second off Rosberg’s long-run pace.
Rosberg was among the first to bolt on super-softs and run a qualifying simulation, setting a 1m47.488s lap that looked impressive until both Alonso and Ricciardo edged him out by over a tenth of a second. Rosberg exited his car and was observed in animated conversation with engineer Andrew Shovlin.
Jean Eric Vergne was again impressive on super-soft rubber in the final moments, logging a 1m47.693s lap in his Toro Rosso that was good for fourth place ahead of Vettel, who switched to super-softs very late in the session.
Williams – as usual – waited until Saturday to show its hand. On their long runs on soft tyres Valtteri Bottas and Felipe Massa were sixth and seventh, splitting the Ferraris.
Massa reversed their order on super-soft rubber, three tenths faster than Bottas, and with Vergne’s arrival ahead they ended the session seventh and eighth, still faster than Kimi Raikkonen.
McLaren barely troubled the top 10 throughout, on both tyre choices, and both its drivers were outpointed on their qualifying simulations by Esteban Gutierrez and Nico Hulkenberg.
|2||Daniel Ricciardo||Red Bull/Renault||1m47.350s||0.051s||15|
|4||Jean-Eric Vergne||Toro Rosso/Renault||1m47.693s||0.394s||17|
|5||Sebastian Vettel||Red Bull/Renault||1m47.711s||0.412s||17|
|11||Nico Hulkenberg||Force India/Mercedes||1m48.450s||1.151s||11|
|14||Daniil Kvyat||Toro Rosso/Renault||1m48.637s||1.338s||18|
|15||Sergio Perez||Force India/Mercedes||1m49.078s||1.779s||15|
Kimi Raikkonen: “Room for improvement”
Kimi Raikkonen: “Overall this was a positive day, even if, as usual, there is room for improvement. In the first session we concentrated on looking at different set-up solutions and on my first set of Soft tyres I managed to do a good lap, then unfortunately some technical niggles prevented me from getting the most out of the second set. At the end of the session I had a problem with the brakes overheating, but the team managed to sort it out quickly and prepare the car for the second session. The changes we made to the set-up improved the handling of the car and with the Supersoft tyres there was plenty of grip.”
Singapore GP: Lewis Hamilton ends Friday on top for Mercedes
Lewis Hamilton ended the opening day of practice for the Formula 1 Singapore Grand Prix on top of the timesheets in his Mercedes.
The 2014 F1 title contender was only fourth fastest in the early stages of the session, when the field ran on the slower soft-compound Pirelli tyres.
But after leaving his qualifying simulation run on super-softs later than most, Hamilton was able to take to the track when it reopened after a mid-session red flag.
This was caused by Pastor Maldonado, who lost the rear of his Lotus exiting the Turn 10 left-hander and, in correcting, ran out of road and slid heavily into the exit barrier.
Hamilton, who complained about a vibration in his brakes at the start of the run, then set a lap good enough to relegate Red Bull driver Daniel Ricciardo to second place by three tenths of a second.
While the vast majority of drivers had completed their qualifying simulations before the red flag, of the frontrunners only Fernando Alonso and Nico Rosberg had yet to do so.
Alonso got to within 0.133s of Hamilton on his performance run, ending the session second ahead of Ricciardo.
But Rosberg, who had already started his qualifying simulation when the red flag came out, then went straight into a long-run after the restart.
This meant that his fastest lap on the soft Pirellis stood as his best, the significant performance difference between the two compounds leaving him down in 13th, just over a second-and-a-half off Hamilton.
Kimi Raikkonen completed a promising day for Ferrari in fourth, four tenths slower than his team-mate.
Remarkably, Sebastian Vettel ended the session fifth having only taken to the track with seven minutes remaining.
He had suffered an engine problem at the end of the day’s first session, with Red Bull doing a superb job to get his car ready for a run on super-softs in the closing minutes.
This relegated McLaren pairing Kevin Magnussen and Jenson Button to sixth and seventh.
The Force Indias of Sergio Perez and Nico Hulkenberg, who had held first and second on the timesheets after being among the earliest to bolt on super-softs, ended up eighth and ninth ahead of the Toro Rossos of Daniil Kvyat and Jean-Eric Vergne.
Romain Grosjean coaxed a good lap out of a Lotus that looked very difficult to drive to end up 12th, ahead of Rosberg, with Maldonado also setting a good pace on his qualifying simulation prior to his shunt.
With the Saubers of Adrian Sutil and Esteban Gutierrez 15th and 16th, it was a difficult day for the Williams team.
Although it had expected to struggle here, Felipe Massa and Valtteri Bottas ended up right down in 17th and 18th.
The Marussia drivers won the battle at the back, with Jules Bianchi and Max Chilton, the latter of which suffered with a turbo problem late on, outpacing Kamui Kobayashi and Marcus Ericsson.
|3||Daniel Ricciardo||Red Bull/Renault||1m47.790s||0.300s||28|
|5||Sebastian Vettel||Red Bull/Renault||1m48.041s||0.551s||5|
|8||Sergio Perez||Force India/Mercedes||1m48.653s||1.163s||30|
|9||Nico Hulkenberg||Force India/Mercedes||1m48.751s||1.261s||30|
|10||Daniil Kvyat||Toro Rosso/Renault||1m48.770s||1.280s||31|
|11||Jean-Eric Vergne||Toro Rosso/Renault||1m48.800s||1.310s||33|
Singapore GP: Fernando Alonso leads practice one for Ferrari
Fernando Alonso scored a coup for Ferrari in the first practice session of the 2014 Formula 1 Singapore Grand Prix, edging out Mercedes’ Lewis Hamilton.
Alonso’s flying lap of 1m49.056s beat Hamilton by 0.122 seconds, with Nico Rosberg 0.027s further back in third.
The Red Bulls of Sebastian Vettel and Daniel Ricciardo, who had been expected to go well here on account of the RB9’s prodigious downforce, were fourth and fifth fastest, but were much more active than Alonso on track, completing 27 and 21 laps to the Spaniard’s 16.
Rosberg led much of the early running in spite of reporting gear selection problems, and having to remove a loose mirror.
Kimi Raikkonen was the first of the Ferrari drivers to dial in to the circuit, lapping more neatly than Alonso and even briefly topping the timesheets before Rosberg ended his tenure there.
Alonso soon restored the normal Ferrari order, though, and Raikkonen would close out the session seventh fastest with his front brakes on fire in the pits.
At the end of the first half hour, when the teams have to give back their extra set of soft-compound Pirelli tyres, it was Vettel and Alonso who were fastest by a half-second margin from Rosberg.
But with the tyre exchange completed, Rosberg was among the first drivers to head back out on track, once again on the soft-compound tyres, setting a new benchmark nearly two seconds faster then his previous best.
Hamilton responded with a lap 0.027s quicker to ‘win’ this run, and that was how the Mercedes order remained until the chequered flag.
As Hamilton and Rosberg moved on to race simulation runs with 30 minutes of the session remaining, Alonso found space on track to nail a flying lap 0.122s faster than Hamilton’s best.
Vettel made productive use of his new Red Bull chassis to set a time faster than team-mate Ricciardo, though he had a close encounter with the wall at the exit of Turn 21.
Ricciardo moved on to a full-tank race simulation run in the final half hour, undercutting his previous best but also touching the wall while doing so.
It was not all good news for Vettel, though; he suffered a suspected engine failure at the end of the session and stopped in the pitlane.
Toro Rosso showed well on headline times, with Jean-Eric Vergne sixth fastest and Daniil Kvyat ninth, but this was an eventful 90 minutes for the Faenza team.
Vergne required a battery change that put him out of action during the first hour; then, having set his flying lap, he had an ERS failure that ended his session.
Kvyat, for his part, claimed to be being blocked by several other drivers on-track.
McLaren had a new front wing but neither Jenson Button nor Kevin Magnussen were able to make an impression up front, closing the session eighth and 11th.
|4||Sebastian Vettel||Red Bull/Renault||1m49.874s||0.818s||27|
|5||Daniel Ricciardo||Red Bull/Renault||1m50.122s||1.066s||21|
|6||Jean-Eric Vergne||Toro Rosso/Renault||1m50.539s||1.483s||11|
|9||Daniil Kvyat||Toro Rosso/Renault||1m50.990s||1.934s||26|
|10||Sergio Perez||Force India/Mercedes||1m51.131s||2.075s||23|
|12||Nico Hulkenberg||Force India/Mercedes||1m51.604s||2.548s||23|