Shanghai Practice 1: Alonso fastest early on

Fernando Alonso fastest in FP1
Fernando Alonso fastest in FP1

Ferrari’s Fernando Alonso broke Mercedes’ stranglehold at the top by setting the fastest time in Friday’s first practice session for the Chinese Grand Prix.

Alonso completed 20 laps of the 5.4 kilometre Shanghai International Circuit to end the morning session with a best time of 1:39.783 seconds, as Ferrari’s new Formula One boss Marco Mattiacci looked on.

Nico Rosberg was second in his Mercedes with a time that was nearly four-tenths of a second off Alonso’s session-topping effort.

The German’s team mate Lewis Hamilton, gunning for a hat-trick of wins this weekend, set the eighth fastest time on a cool and overcast morning in Shanghai.

Daniel Ricciardo set the third quickest time in his Red Bull ahead of McLaren’s Jenson Button and Force India’s Nico Hulkenberg.

Nico Rosberg second fastest in FP1
Nico Rosberg second fastest in FP1

McLaren rookie Kevin Magnussen set the sixth fastest time to make it four Mercedes-powered cars in the top six.

Reigning world champion Sebastian Vettel ended the session ninth.

Mercedes have won the opening three races of the season in dominating fashion, but Friday morning’s session was the first time since opening practice for the first race in Australia that a silver arrow car has not ended up at the top of the timesheets.

Both Hamilton and Rosberg put in a limited amount of running and set their fastest times in the opening 30 minutes of the session on a green track, with the team choosing to focus on longer runs later in the session.

Daniel Ricciardo third fastest in FP1
Daniel Ricciardo third fastest in FP1

Kimi Raikkonen failed to set a time in the 90-minute session after his Ferrari developed mechanical issues, with the Finn only managing a single installation lap.

With track temperatures hovering in the high Celsius teens, several drivers struggled for grip and had off track moments in a largely uneventful session.

Pastor Maldonado in particular provided some amusement after he left the track and spun in his Lotus while making adjustments on his steering wheel.

Chinese Grand Prix, Free Practice 1 – Friday, 18 April 2014

114Fernando AlonsoFerrari1:39.783 20
26Nico RosbergMercedes1:40.1810.39816
33Daniel RicciardoRed Bull Racing-Renault1:40.7720.98923
422Jenson ButtonMcLaren-Mercedes1:40.9701.18723
527Nico HulkenbergForce India-Mercedes1:41.1751.39216
620Kevin MagnussenMcLaren-Mercedes1:41.3661.58320
725Jean-Eric VergneSTR-Renault1:41.5051.72226
844Lewis HamiltonMercedes1:41.5601.7779
91Sebastian VettelRed Bull Racing-Renault1:41.6291.84619
1019Felipe MassaWilliams-Mercedes1:41.6991.91614
1126Daniil KvyatSTR-Renault1:41.9772.19423
128Romain GrosjeanLotus-Renault1:42.0902.30724
1340Felipe NasrWilliams-Mercedes1:42.2652.48213
1436Giedo van der GardeSauber-Ferrari1:42.6152.83216
1511Sergio PerezForce India-Mercedes1:42.7332.95013
1613Pastor MaldonadoLotus-Renault1:43.7313.94822
1710Kamui KobayashiCaterham-Renault1:44.0384.25516
1821Esteban GutierrezSauber-Ferrari1:44.1624.37917
1917Jules BianchiMarussia-Ferrari1:44.2704.4877
204Max ChiltonMarussia-Ferrari1:44.7824.99920
219Marcus EricssonCaterham-Renault1:44.8355.05222
227Kimi RäikkönenFerrari  1

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