GP Australia, prove libere venerdì–14/03/2014
Australian GP: Lewis Hamilton puts Mercedes on top in practice two
Lewis Hamilton recovered from a disastrous morning to top the first day of practice for the Formula 1 season-opening Australian Grand Prix in his Mercedes.
The 2008 world champion stopped on only his second lap of the first session thanks to a sensor calibration problem, meaning he had not completed a flying lap heading into the afternoon.
Hamilton was one of the last of the frontrunners to set a time on fresh Pirelli soft tyres in practice two, waiting until the second half of the session before setting his time.
A stunning final sector allowed him to depose Mercedes team-mate Nico Rosberg at the top of the timesheets by 0.157 seconds.
Nobody else was able to get close to Rosberg, who had underlined the strength of Mercedes by setting the fastest time achieved on medium-compound Pirellis earlier in the afternoon.
Rosberg looked set to retain his position on the faster rubber after knocking Red Bull driver Daniel Ricciardo, who was among the earliest drivers to bolt on the softs and briefly went fastest, off top spot at around the halfway mark of the 90-minute session, only for Hamilton to show his pace.
Ferrari’s Fernando Alonso, who was Rosberg’s closest rival on the medium rubber, ended up third fastest, half-a-second off Hamilton.
While the Spaniard was unable to match the Mercedes over the full lap, he was the quickest of all in the first sector at Albert Park.
Sebastian Vettel rounded out an encouraging first day of the season for Red Bull in fourth overall despite an off-track moment at Turn 1 early in the session having dropped a wheel onto the grass at corner entry.
He ended up three-quarters of a second down in fourth place, with team-mate Ricciardo sixth fastest, 0.157s slower than Vettel.
Splitting the Red Bulls was three times Australian GP winner Jenson Button, who was fastest in sector two but struggled with understeer.
Kimi Raikkonen was seventh fastest, although his session was interrupted by what is believed to have been a gearbox glitch when he was preparing for a practice start.
The lead Williams of Valtteri Bottas was eighth overall, 1.3s down, although on medium rubber the deficit to the Mercedes had been around half that.
Several drivers had off-track moments during the session, with Kevin Magnussen enduring a bumpy ride after running wide exiting Turn 12 early on and Toro Rosso’s Jean-Eric Vergne going straight on at Turn 3 and through the gravel trap.
Sauber’s Esteban Gutierrez also had a grassy moment exiting Turn 2 while scrapping for territory with Vettel.
Late in the session, Nico Hulkenberg locked the rears under braking for Turn 9 and spun into the gravel.
Almost simultaneously, Romain Grosjean buried his Lotus in the gravel at Turn 6 after losing the rear under braking and slapping the wall with the left-rear corner.
Only 19 drivers were able to set a time, with Kamui Kobayashi’s Caterham unable to run thanks to a "power unit-related fuel system issue" that struck in morning practice.
Team-mate Marcus Ericsson was at least able to get onto the circuit, but a hydraulics problem on his installation lap forced him to return to the pits and the team was unable to get him back out again.
Lotus driver Pastor Maldonado did leave the garage, but was unable to make it out of the pitlane after stopping with a suspected ERS problem that the team did not have time to resolve.
This rounded off a dismal day for Lotus, with Grosjean the second slowest of the drivers who did set a time before his late off.
Pos Driver Team/Car Time Gap Laps 1. Lewis Hamilton Mercedes 1m29.625s 37 2. Nico Rosberg Mercedes 1m29.782s +0.157s 31 3. Fernando Alonso Ferrari 1m30.132s +0.507s 28 4. Sebastian Vettel Red Bull-Renault 1m30.381s +0.756s 41 5. Jenson Button McLaren-Mercedes 1m30.510s +0.885s 33 6. Daniel Ricciardo Red Bull-Renault 1m30.538s +0.913s 38 7. Kimi Raikkonen Ferrari 1m30.898s +1.273s 32 8. Valtteri Bottas Williams-Mercedes 1m30.920s +1.295s 38 9. Kevin Magnussen McLaren-Mercedes 1m31.031s +1.406s 34 10. Nico Hulkenberg Force India-Mercedes 1m31.054s +1.429s 33 11. Jean-Eric Vergne Toro Rosso-Renault 1m31.060s +1.435s 35 12. Felipe Massa Williams-Mercedes 1m31.119s +1.494s 31 13. Sergio Perez Force India-Mercedes 1m31.283s +1.658s 36 14. Adrian Sutil Sauber-Ferrari 1m32.355s +2.730s 36 15. Esteban Gutierrez Sauber-Ferrari 1m32.468s +2.843s 26 16. Daniil Kvyat Toro Rosso-Renault 1m32.495s +2.870s 36 17. Jules Bianchi Marussia-Ferrari 1m33.486s +3.861s 29 18. Romain Grosjean Lotus-Renault 1m33.646s +4.021s 12 19. Max Chilton Marussia-Ferrari 1m34.757s +5.132s 29 20. Marcus Ericsson Caterham-Renault 1 21. Pastor Maldonado Lotus-Renault 22. Kamui Kobayashi Caterham-Renault
Australian GP: Fernando Alonso and Ferrari fastest in practice one
Fernando Alonso prevailed over Jenson Button as McLaren and Ferrari traded places up front in the first Formula 1 practice session of 2014 at the Australian Grand Prix.
Williams drivers Valtteri Bottas and Felipe Massa were just hundredths of a second off Button’s pace.
But there was disappointment for pre-season favourite Mercedes, with Nico Rosberg only sixth fastest behind Daniel Ricciardo’s much-improved Red Bull, and Lewis Hamilton stopping on track on his out-lap.
Ferrari was first to break the silence as Alonso’s F14 T rumbled out of the pitlane and on to the track to complete a historic, if uneventful, installation lap.
Quite against the pre-season run of form, though, it was Mercedes that claimed the unfortunate accolade of being first to suffer a breakdown during a race weekend.
The session was but five minutes old when Hamilton came to a halt at the exit of Turn 8, a wisp of smoke curling from the rear of his W05 as its engine shut down in response to an oil pressure warning.
Hamilton returned to the pits with his helmet in place, visor down, cold-shouldering an official who requested sight of his pass at the paddock gate.
In contrast, four times world champion Sebastian Vettel lounged on the pitwall with his overalls tied around his waist as his team-mate Ricciardo became the first driver of the weekend to complete a flying lap.
Sergio Perez was the first to spin and Daniil Kvyat the first to explore the gravel trap at the exit of Turn 1, followed in short order by Toro Rosso team-mate Jean-Eric Vergne, with the team having numerous excursions through the session amid braking system issues.
Ferrari, McLaren, Force India and Toro Rosso were busiest in the first half of the session, each running multiple-lap stints with both of their cars, although Kimi Raikkonen’s programme was interrupted by an ERS-K failure that Ferrari fixed within 25 minutes.
As in testing, Mercedes-powered cars covered the bulk of the mileage, but Red Bull has clearly made some progress on reliability; Ricciardo amassed 26 laps and Vettel, after sitting out most of the first hour, ran one installation lap followed by a five-lap timed run, and then another four in the final minutes to go seventh fastest overall.
Both Williams drivers embarked on multiple stints, making good use of the extra set of Pirelli tyres permitted during this session.
Bottas did the most running in the first hour before Massa took to the track, and while the Brazilian veteran was initially faster, Bottas subsequently eclipsed his time and was quickest of all in the middle sector.
Plenty of teams reported teething troubles: McLaren’s Kevin Magnussen alluded to engine problems over the team-radio and Button was not getting lap time readouts on his steering wheel.
Marussia had a low-key session, with Jules Bianchi completing two three-lap stints while team-mate Max Chilton set a time on just one of his four laps.
Besides Hamilton, four other drivers failed to set a time. Both Caterhams completed just one installation lap before returning to the garage for attention to problems with the electrics on Marcus Ericsson’s car and the fuel system on Kamui Kobayashi’s.
Neither Lotus emerged until the final quarter-hour, and Pastor Maldonado promptly deposited his E22 in the gravel at Turn 13 on his installation lap before cruising back to the pits.
Pos Driver Team/Car Time Gap Laps 1. Fernando Alonso Ferrari 1m31.840s 20 2. Jenson Button McLaren-Mercedes 1m32.357s +0.517s 23 3. Valtteri Bottas Williams-Mercedes 1m32.403s +0.563s 27 4. Felipe Massa Williams-Mercedes 1m32.431s +0.591s 19 5. Daniel Ricciardo Red Bull-Renault 1m32.599s +0.759s 26 6. Nico Rosberg Mercedes 1m32.604s +0.764s 17 7. Sebastian Vettel Red Bull-Renault 1m32.793s +0.953s 10 8. Kevin Magnussen McLaren-Mercedes 1m32.847s +1.007s 28 9. Kimi Raikkonen Ferrari 1m32.977s +1.137s 18 10. Jean-Eric Vergne Toro Rosso-Renault 1m33.446s +1.606s 30 11. Nico Hulkenberg Force India-Mercedes 1m33.533s +1.693s 23 12. Sergio Perez Force India-Mercedes 1m33.855s +2.015s 24 13. Daniil Kvyat Toro Rosso-Renault 1m34.272s +2.432s 27 14. Esteban Gutierrez Sauber-Ferrari 1m35.578s +3.738s 7 15. Adrian Sutil Sauber-Ferrari 1m36.445s +4.605s 13 16. Jules Bianchi Marussia-Ferrari 1m40.859s +9.019s 6 17. Max Chilton Marussia-Ferrari 1m46.922s +15.082s 4 18. Marcus Ericsson Caterham-Renault 1 19. Lewis Hamilton Mercedes 1 20. Kamui Kobayashi Caterham-Renault 1 21. Pastor Maldonado Lotus-Renault 2 22. Romain Grosjean Lotus-Renault