Sebastian Vettel spearheaded a Ferrari one-two in the opening Formula 1 practice session for the Spanish Grand Prix.
The German clocked a 1m23.951s to beat teammate Kimi Raikkonen by 0.138 seconds, with both times set on the soft tire. In contrast, Mercedes chose to focus on the medium tire, as it did at Barcelona in pre-season testing, and racked up more than 60 laps in total.
Nico Rosberg was third quickest, half a second off the pace, with his reigning world champion team-mate Lewis Hamilton 0.16s further back.
Warm and sunny conditions greeted the drivers for the first practice session of the European season with Mercedes getting on with its program straight away. Rosberg and Hamilton traded quickest times, with Rosberg leading the way by just 0.002s after the first series of runs. But the Mercedes duo were bumped down when Ferrari joined the fray, running the softs.
Vettel stopped at the end of the pitlane right at the end of the session after narrowly failing to leave before the red light flickered on.
Red Bull’s Daniel Ricciardo ended the session fifth quickest, 1.465s off the pace, with his new teammate Max Verstappen only a couple of tenths adrift in sixth. Valtteri Bottas was the leading Williams in seventh.
Carlos Sainz Jr, Felipe Massa – who spun at Turn 5 but continued – and Fernando Alonso completed the top 10.
Daniil Kvyat was 12th quickest on his return to Toro Rosso, half a second shy of team-mate Sainz. Kevin Magnussen was 11th for Renault but his team-mate Esteban Ocon, who stepped in for Jolyon Palmer, managed just six laps and failed to set a time on his first appearance this season.
There were also mixed fortunes for Force India, with Nico Hulkenberg managing 27 laps but his teammate Sergio Perez spending a large chunk of time in the garage after pitting with smoke pouring from the rear of the car.
Romain Grosjean, who like his Haas teammate Esteban Gutierrez is running the latest spec Ferrari engine this weekend, said the car was “a disaster at low speed” and was 15th, a tenth quicker than the Mexican.
PRACTICE ONE TIMES
|5||Daniel Ricciardo||Red Bull/TAG Heuer||1m25.416ss||1.465s||25|
|6||Max Verstappen||Red Bull/TAG Heuer||1m25.585ss||1.634s||29|
|8||Carlos Sainz||Toro Rosso/Ferrari||1m26.078ss||2.127s||19|
|12||Daniil Kvyat||Toro Rosso/Ferrari||1m26.583ss||2.632s||21|
|13||Nico Hulkenberg||Force India/Mercedes||1m26.938ss||2.987s||27|
|14||Sergio Perez||Force India/Mercedes||1m27.064ss||3.113s||9|