Mercedes comfortably quickest in first practice

2013 Chinese Grand Prix first practice

Nico Rosberg, Mercedes, Shanghai, 2013The same drivers who filled the top four in the Malaysian Grand Prix headed the times in first practice at Shanghai – but in the reverse order.

Nico Rosberg was comfortably fastest, almost half a second quicker than team mate Lewis Hamilton and nearly a second up on Mark Webber’s Red Bull.

Sunny conditions greeted drivers at the track for the first hour and a half of running. Following the usual half-hour lull after the first installation laps Jenson Button led the early running with a time of 1’38.262.

Kimi Raikkonen joined the track moments after and had just gone third fastest when he spun between turns nine and ten, without damaging the Lotus.

The Mercedes drivers returned to the track shortly afterwards and it was Rosberg who led the way, swapping best sector times with Hamilton, who had been unwell on Thursday.

Behind the two Red Bulls Fernando Alonso was fifth-quickest, followed by Jenson Button an Adrian Sutil. Both Force Indias were in the top ten along with Romain Grosjean’s Lotus.

Esteban Gutierrez joined Raikkonen in going off the track. The Sauber driver understeered wide in the long first corner.

Ma Qing Hua became the first non-race driver to appear in practice this year. More significantly he was also the first Chinese driver to participate in his home race weekend.

As the session came to an end Sergio Perez attacked the pit-lane entry too hard and understeered off into the barrier. He came to a stop in the same gravel trap where his McLaren’s predecessor Lewis Hamilton’s race famously ended in 2007.

Pos. No. Driver Car Best lap Gap Laps
1 9 Nico Rosberg Mercedes 1’36.717 21
2 10 Lewis Hamilton Mercedes 1’37.171 0.454 20
3 2 Mark Webber Red Bull-Renault 1’37.658 0.941 21
4 1 Sebastian Vettel Red Bull-Renault 1’37.942 1.225 20
5 3 Fernando Alonso Ferrari 1’37.965 1.248 17
6 5 Jenson Button McLaren 1’38.069 1.352 25
7 4 Felipe Massa Ferrari 1’38.095 1.378 14
8 15 Adrian Sutil Force India-Mercedes 1’38.125 1.408 21
9 8 Romain Grosjean Lotus-Renault 1’38.398 1.681 17
10 14 Paul di Resta Force India-Mercedes 1’38.561 1.844 15
11 7 Kimi Raikkonen Lotus-Renault 1’38.790 2.073 16
12 18 Jean-Eric Vergne Toro Rosso-Ferrari 1’39.057 2.340 19
13 16 Pastor Maldonado Williams-Renault 1’39.158 2.441 22
14 11 Nico Hulkenberg Sauber-Ferrari 1’39.180 2.463 21
15 19 Daniel Ricciardo Toro Rosso-Ferrari 1’39.336 2.619 19
16 6 Sergio Perez McLaren 1’39.360 2.643 20
17 17 Valtteri Bottas Williams-Renault 1’39.392 2.675 21
18 12 Esteban Gutierrez Sauber-Ferrari 1’40.032 3.315 22
19 22 Jules Bianchi Marussia-Cosworth 1’41.966 5.249 16
20 23 Max Chilton Marussia-Cosworth 1’42.056 5.339 18
21 21 Giedo van der Garde Caterham-Renault 1’42.083 5.366 21
22 20 Ma Qing Hua Caterham-Renault 1’43.545 6.828 20

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32 comments on Mercedes comfortably quickest in first practice

  1. Blackmamba (@blackmamba) said on 12th April 2013, 4:42

    Now that I think of it, it’s not that much of a surprise from the Mercs. They were the same here last year.

  2. David-A (@david-a) said on 12th April 2013, 4:44

    Mclaren driven by yellow-helmeted driver ends up in Chinese gravel trap. Good memories.

    • bull mello (@bullmello) said on 12th April 2013, 5:03

      At least Hamilton had the excuses of shot tires and a wet track. Didn’t get to see why Perez went off there. A replay would have been helpful.

      • David-A (@david-a) said on 12th April 2013, 5:18

        Plus Hamilton probably needed the urgency- being in the middle of an important race. Perez’s was just really poor, and he hit the wall, to boot.

        • Kingshark (@kingshark) said on 12th April 2013, 6:23

          Tyres, no matter how shot they are, shouldn’t be an excuse to get your car stuck in the smallest gravel trap of the Milky way galaxy.

          • Why shouldn’t it be an excuse, its at the slowest and tightest part of the circuit, if there was ever a place it was going to happen, it was exactly there.

  3. Roger2013 said on 12th April 2013, 4:58

    were already starting to see drivers running to delta times :(

    so another weekend of ridiculous tyre conservation in the works & another race dominated by tyres, oh joy.

    if its the same in fp3 tomorrow it may be the end of the weekend for me, i’d rather stay in bed sunday morning & get extra sleep than watch a race dominated by tyre wear, running to deltas to save tyres & a lot of boring drs nonsense!

    really beginning to lose my love of f1 because of all this artificial gimmicky rubbish :((

    • Rambler said on 12th April 2013, 5:41

      yeah agree. Getting boring to watch everyone just staying in line cuss tyres can’t handle some mid-race battling.. Was obvious since AUS with the ridiculous Sutil train.

    • We are seeing the mixed up grids, bcoz of Tyre issue.. If it was flat out Quali and Race, then the Fastest guys would be ahead of the slower guys anyway and no one would overtake anone.. I had seen that racing from 2006-2010 and this is much better

      • tvm (@) said on 12th April 2013, 8:08

        Lots of action in pro whrestling as well, doesn’t mean it has anything to do with sports.

        Like these Sunday cruises has very little in common with actual racing.

      • Roger2013 said on 12th April 2013, 8:56

        I had seen that racing from 2006-2010 and this is much better

        There was some brilliant racing in those years & some very close/exciting championship’s that went down to the wire.

        i never liked le mans style sportscar racing because they tended to be running to save fuel & conserve tyres etc. & im really starting to dislike f1 for the same reasons.

        i want to watch racing with drivers at least able to push somewhat hard without having to worry about these ridiculous jelly tyres.

        if we had these tyres in abu dhabi last year i doubt vettel would have been able to come through the field like he did because by pushing as hard as he was he’d have just killed the tyres.

        these tyres are killing the racing along with my interest & enjoyment if f1, a sport i have followed since the mid 70s.

        • u are only disliking this bcoz u are a McLaren fan and they are struggling.. Had they been winning every race, then u wouldn’t have complained

          • Roger2013 said on 12th April 2013, 17:10

            Wrong, Not a McLaren fan.

            Im complaining because I hate these crapy tyres & the so called ‘racing’ there producing.

            I couldn’t care less who’s wining/losing or who’s struggling more/less with tyres, I simply don’t like these crap unfit for purpose tyres.

  4. celler (@celler) said on 12th April 2013, 5:00

    mercedes looking FRICing good

  5. Francorchamps (@francorchamps17) said on 12th April 2013, 5:06

    Ma Qing Hua 1.5 seconds behind VDG…

    • BasCB (@bascb) said on 12th April 2013, 6:37

      And VDG was clearly slowest apart from Chilton last 2 races …

    • BarnstableD (@barnstabled) said on 12th April 2013, 10:36

      First thing I noticed also.

      It annoys me that it’s common consensus that driver’s shouldn’t pay their way into F1 yet Ma Qing Hua gets let off the hook. This guy is here purely because he is Chinese. In everything I’ve seen him in he’s been off the pace. A quick wikipedia – if accurate – shows that he’s never performed well in anything except Chinese Touring Cars (which I didn’t even know existed).

      I’d much rather have a grid filled with drivers boosted to the grid because of their gender or that they have a bit of money (to complement their ok talent) than see horrifically off the pace ones like this there simply because, wow, he’s China’s first F1 driver.

  6. Red Bull, Ferrari, Lotus all running Heavier Fuel Load.. No idea about Force India. It looks like the Mediums can last for atleast 20 Laps, which opens up a 2 vs 3 Pit Stop Strategy.. But Mercedes have genuine pace

  7. MaroonJack (@maroonjack) said on 12th April 2013, 6:48

    Kimi Raikkonen joined the track moments after and had just gone third fastest when he sun between turns nine and ten

    Spun?

  8. dcjohnson (@dcjohnson) said on 12th April 2013, 6:54

    Rosberg really needs to beat Hamilton in qualifying this weekend. Not only is china one of his favorite tracks. But Hamilton will only get faster in comparison to Rosberg, as he gets more used to the Merc. Its funny most pundits give a driver 6 months or so to get used to a new team. Guess its Hamilton reputation of being fast in anything, that stops pundits from giving him any leeway? If anything Rosberg has been praised for keeping up with Hamilton, it will soon change if Hamilton gets more comfortable in the team ?

    • Nick (@nick101) said on 12th April 2013, 9:55

      most pundits give a driver 6 months or so to get used to a new team

      Guess that makes Button’s achievement of winning in his second and fourth GP for McLaren pretty damn impressive then.

      Just saying…

    • MaroonJack (@maroonjack) said on 12th April 2013, 10:47

      If anything people don’t give enough credit to Rosberg, who might just be genuinely faster, or just as fast as Lewis. He was quicker in most practice sessions so far, quicker in Q1 and Q2 both in Australia and Malaysia, was just as fast as Lewis in Australian GP (before retiring due to electrical problem), was faster than Lewis in Malaysia, and still looks faster in China.

      And no, it doesn’t take 6 months for a driver to get used to a new team. Button moved to McLaren, Alonso moved to Ferrari, Vettel moved to Red Bull, Raikkonen moved to Lotus and they all adapted very quickly.

      • Drivers like Lewis dont give everything away in practice sessions… Remember Canada 2007/8 when he explained how he waited until the last lap of Q3 before really going for it in the last chicane? Never mind practice sessions.

        Oftern HK and Button where quicker than Lewis in practice only for him to ‘find’ time in Qualifying.

        “was just as fast as Lewis in Australian GP (before retiring due to electrical problem), was faster than Lewis in Malaysia”

        Being a couple of tenths per lap faster in race trim means little when your 100 metre futher back in track posistion… And we know Lewis was fuel saving for practically 2 thirds of the race in Malaysia.

      • DMC (@dmc) said on 12th April 2013, 20:26

        Yes i think rosberg is woefully underated, and im sure if he continues to outperform hamilton
        it will be “what is wrong with lewis” rather than giving rosberg credit. Just like fellipe at ferrari against Kimi.
        It just seems some drivers are not seen as cool enough so there pace is just dismissed just ask michael how quick nico is.

    • M Dickens (@sgt-pepper) said on 12th April 2013, 11:13

      (@dcjohnson) Yeah I find it interesting how relatively even matched they are currently, with Rosberg even getting the better of Lewis at times. Also interested to know how much of a difference being a new team/being settled might make as Lewis beds down, and whether his being ill is also affecting his abilities.

    • Hairpin (@hairpin) said on 12th April 2013, 11:28

      “Guess its Hamilton reputation of being fast in anything, that stops pundits from giving him any leeway?”
      I don’t know where you get that from, as far as i’m aware he’s only driven for Mclaren until now or back in his karting days, I think it’s only in your head or can you elaborate and educate us all ?

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