Barcelona Practice 1: Alonso heads Ferrari 1-2 on home soil

Fernando Alonso Ferrari F138
Fernando Alonso Ferrari F138

Fernando Alonso got the opening weekend of the European stanza of the 2013 Formula 1 world championship off to the best possible start as he ended the 90 minutes session top of the timing sheets on home soil which is sure to provide a boost to last minute ticket sales for the Spanish Grand Prix.

The session started in damp and slippery conditions due to rainfall in the morning over the area, but as the session progressed the track dried up and a flurry of activity ensued as teams were keen to try out their latest updates in conditions which would enable to evaluate the new bits bolted on to their cars.

Alonso who has only won his home race on one occasion, back in 2006 when driving for Renault, powered around the Circuit de Catalunya in 1:25.252 which was 0.203 seconds up on Ferrari teammate Felipe Massa. The reds looking strong early on, as next best was almost half a second off Massa’s pace.

Jean-Eric Vergne third fastest
Jean-Eric Vergne third fastest

And that next best was another Ferrari powered car as Toro Rosso driver Jean Eric Vergne stunned the pitlane with the third best time.

Romain Grosjean was best of the ‘rest’ in fourth at the wheel the Latest spec Lotus E21, ahead of Force India’s Adrian Sutil who was fifth and best of the Mercedes powered brigade.

Lewis Hamilton ended the session sixth on the timing screens in the Mercedes, with Valterri Bottas seventh in the Williams and fellow Finn  Kimi Raikkonen eighth in the Lotus.

Nico Rosberg was ninth in the Mercedes, with Paul di Resta rounding out the top ten.

Clearly keeping their powder dry in the first session were the red Bull duo of Senbastian Vettel and Mark Webber

Romain Grosjean was fourth
Romain Grosjean was fourth

Ominously neither McLaren was in the top ten despite a much publicised upgrade package for Barcelona. Sergio Perez was 13th, while Jenson Button did not set a time as according to the team’s official new Twitter which announced quite nonchalantly: “So, Checo’s best time of the morning was a 1m27.135s – 13th. Jenson, who was focusing on evaluative runs, didn’t set a laptime.”

How meaningful was the wet morning in Spain? Hard to tell really although it would be fair to say that Ferrari are looking good, but Red Bull are holding fire and until they decide to unleash the latest edition of the RB9 it is impossible to make comparisons.

This compounded by the fact that last time F1 was in Barcelona, during testing in early march, times were in the four seconds faster…

Spanish Grand Prix, Free Practice 1 – Friday, 10 May 2013

13Fernando AlonsoFerrari1:25.25220
24Felipe MassaFerrari1:25.4550.20320
318Jean-Eric VergneSTR-Ferrari1:25.6670.41525
48Romain GrosjeanLotus-Renault1:26.0420.79021
515Adrian SutilForce India-Mercedes1:26.2120.96024
610Lewis HamiltonMercedes1:26.3741.12219
717Valtteri BottasWilliams-Renault1:26.4561.20420
87Kimi RäikkönenLotus-Renault1:26.6141.36221
99Nico RosbergMercedes1:26.6211.36921
1014Paul di RestaForce India-Mercedes1:26.7551.50316
1119Daniel RicciardoSTR-Ferrari1:26.9401.68826
1211Nico HulkenbergSauber-Ferrari1:27.0611.80924
136Sergio PerezMcLaren-Mercedes1:27.1351.8836
1412Esteban GutierrezSauber-Ferrari1:27.2501.99826
1516Pastor MaldonadoWilliams-Renault1:27.5762.32424
1620Heikki KovalainenCaterham-Renault1:28.3733.12114
1721Giedo van der GardeCaterham-Renault1:28.6003.34819
1822Jules BianchiMarussia-Cosworth1:28.8873.63514
191Sebastian VettelRed Bull Racing-Renault1:29.4574.20511
202Mark WebberRed Bull Racing-Renault1:29.4734.22121
2123Rodolfo GonzalezMarussia-Cosworth1:30.3145.06213
225Jenson ButtonMcLaren-MercedesNo time6