Lewis Hamilton has finished fastest in the first practice session for this weekend’s Spanish Grand Prix ahead of Jenson Button and Daniel Ricciardo.
The Mercedes driver posted a fastest time of 1:27.023 to claim top spot, after venturing out for a late run once the track had evolved and become quicker.
Practice took place under perfect blue skies on Friday morning in Spain, giving the teams the best conditions in which to test the new parts on their cars.
However, it turned out to be a troublesome session for a number of drivers who encountered problems, including Sebastian Vettel and Sergio Perez. Vettel’s car stopped out on track during the first 30 minutes of the session, thus curtailing his running and leaving the team with a few questions to answer. Perez’s incident was far more bizarre as his left wing mirror broke loose.
In the sister Red Bull, Daniel Ricciardo ran well to finish in third place behind Hamilton and Button, whilst Nico Rosberg could only finish fifth because of a problem on his car that forced him to sit on the sidelines.
Reserve driver Giedo van der Garde stepped into the Sauber as part of his development programme, replacing Esteban Gutierrez. The Dutchman suffered a scary brake failure on his C33 when heading into the first corner, and was very fortunate not to collide into the wall at high speed.
Home favorite Fernando Alonso struggled to get to grips with the updates on his Ferrari, wrestling with the car throughout the practice sessions. He still rallied to finish fourth ahead of Rosberg and Kimi Raikkonen.
Once again, the advantage appears to lie with Mercedes this weekend, and Hamilton will be hoping to carry this pace throughout the weekend as he goes in search of a fourth straight victory.