World championship leader Nico Rosberg topped a disjointed opening practice session in China on Friday morning, lapping 0.146 seconds quicker than Mercedes team mate Lewis Hamilton as red flags twice interrupted the action.
It was a far from perfect session for the Silver Arrows however with Hamilton suffering two spins and Rosberg finishing the session with an apparent power unit issue.
Ferrari were once again the Silver Arrows’ closest challengers, with Sebastian Vettel going third fastest, just ahead of Red Bull’s Daniel Ricciardo and the other Ferrari of Kimi Raikkonen.
The session was only 25 minutes old when the red flags appeared for the first time, shortly after Felipe Massa had suffered a left-rear tyre issue and spun approaching Turn 6, dragging debris and gravel onto the circuit.
The Brazilian would return to the track later on, only to suffer another left-rear tyre failure, just before Renault Kevin Magnussen suffered a left-rear tyre failure of his own on the back straight, bringing out the red flags for a second time.
Pirelli said that both tyre failures on Massa’s Williams were caused by technical issues, whilst investigations into Magnussen’s failure were ongoing as the session concluded.
Massa was one of two drivers not to set a lap time in the 90 minutes, the other being Haas’ Esteban Gutierrez who completed just two laps before being consigned to the garage with an electrical issue.
|Chinese Grand Prix First Practice|
|Pos.||Car #||Driver||Best Time||Behind||Gap||Laps|
|7||55||Carlos Sainz Jr||1:39.676||-1.639||-0.051||12|