Nico Rosberg was the fastest driver in the opening session of the Spanish Grand Prix weekend but was just seven hundredths clear of team-mate Lewis Hamilton.
While the two Mercedes were very close in terms of pace they were nine tenths faster than their nearest rival – the Ferrari of Sebastian Vettel. He in turn was just hundredths faster than his team-mate Kimi Raikkonen. Ferrari have come to the start of the European season with clear intentions, running with 16 updates to the car including smaller sidepods, a revised cooling system, rear wing tweaks, and new floor.
Behind the Ferrari duo Carlos Sainz was four tenths faster than team-mate Max Verstappen with Daniil Kvyat sixth for Red Bull. Both Red Bull drivers are going into the weekend on their fourth – and final – free engine change at just the fifth race of the season. They have also come to the race with a shorter nose. Rounding out the top ten were Felipe Massa, Daniel Ricciardo and Felipe Nasr. Rosberg set the first flying lap of the session with a 1:31.039. Hamilton was next up to set a lap-time followed by the Manor duo of Will Stevens and Roberto Merhi. After the first 30 minutes of running in which drivers have an additional set of tyres to use, Rosberg led Hamilton, Vettel, Raikkonen, and Sainz.
McLaren are another team who have arrived with upgrades and theirs include rear suspension updates and subtle aero tweaks. The team have also revealed a revised livery. Fernando Alonso ended up fifteenth while team-mate Jenson Button was sixteenth, after complaining of oversteer throughout the session and the balance being wrong with the front wing.
There were three third drivers getting outings for their respective teams – Jolyon Palmer for Lotus, Raffaele Marciello for Sauber and Susie Wolff for Williams. That meant Romain Grosjean, Marcus Ericsson and Valtteri Bottas spent the session on the sidelines. Marciello was the best placed of the trio, ending the session 12th fastest. Palmer ended up thirteenth while Wolff was fourteenth.
Times from FP1:
- Nico Rosberg – 1:26.828 – 28 laps
- Lewis Hamilton – 1:26.898 – 27 laps
- Sebastian Vettel – 1:27.806 – 21 laps
- Kimi Raikkonen – 1:27.832 – 16 laps
- Carlos Sainz – 1:28.132 – 27 laps
- Max Verstappen – 1:28.529 – 23 laps
- Daniil Kvyat – 1:28.785 – 7 laps
- Felipe Massa – 1:28.831 – 21 laps
- Daniel Ricciardo – 1:29.075 – 9 laps
- Felipe Nasr – 1:29.140 – 14 laps
- Nico Hulkenberg – 1:29.409 – 20 laps
- Raffaele Marciello – 1:29.630 – 15 laps
- Jolyon Palmer – 1:29.676 – 21 laps
- Susie Wolff – 1:29.708 – 22 laps
- Fernando Alonso – 1:29.813 – 22 laps
- Jenson Button – 1:29.817 – 22 laps
- Sergio Perez – 1:30.096 – 19 laps
- Pastor Maldonado – 1:30.110 – 7 laps
- Will Stevens – 1:32.471 – 22 laps
- Roberto Merhi – 1:32.647 – 20 laps