Rosberg tops opening practice at Shanghai
12 April 2013 – Nico Rosberg set the pace in Friday morning's opening practice session for the Chinese Grand Prix, posting a personal best time of 1:36.717. The German led Mercedes team-mate Lewis Hamilton by almost half a second, while sparring Red Bull duo Mark Webber and Sebastian Vettel wound up third and fourth.
As has become the norm with the first session of Grand Prix weekends in 2013, there was little track activity in the early stages as the field opted to save their Medium tyre allocations. When the action picked up, Rosberg took advantage on his lower fuel runs to firstly eclipse Ferrari driver Felipe Massa, before responding to Webber's shortlived pace-setting effort.
After spending Thursday recovering from the symptoms of an allergy, Hamilton eased his way into the event with the second fastest time and held a buffer of 0.487 seconds to Webber, who in turn held an advantage of almost three tenths to Vettel. Fernando Alonso wound up fifth fastest, just ahead of Jenson Button who was the early leader as McLaren attempts to get on top of the car upgrades it has brought to Shanghai.
Massa finished the session in seventh place, while Adrian Sutil, Romain Grosjean and Paul di Resta rounded out the top ten. A little further back, the morning ended in drama for McLaren's Sergio Pérez, who overshot the pit lane entry after the chequered flag came out and damaged his front wing. Kimi Räikkönen also suffered a dramatic moment by spinning at Turn 9, but he rejoined without drama.
Jules Bianchi again led the battle at the back, outpacing Marussia team-mate Max Chilton by just under a tenth of a second. Giedo van der Garde occupied 21st position, with Ma Qing Hua bringing up the rear on his first FP1 appearance for Caterham.
Friday's second practice session at Shanghai gets underway at 2pm local time (GMT +8) and can be tracked via the GPUpdate.net Live Report