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After a long off-season following last year’s season finale at Brazil, F1 is finally back for an exciting 2014 championship as the first practice sessions of the year got under way in Australia for Friday practice.

Fernando Alonso ended the first 90 minute session fastest in his Ferrari and was 4.6 seconds slower than the equivalent time set in last year’s Australian FP1. He was half a second clear of Jenson Button in the Mobil sponsored McLaren, with the Briton managing the 2nd fastest time despite an early problem with his engine.

The two Williams cars set the 3rd and 4th best times in their new Martini livery. Valtteri Bottas and Felipe Massa was less than half a tenth of a second slower than Jenson Button.

Somewhat surprisingly, Daniel Ricciardo managed to set the 5th fastest time in front of his home crowd after Red Bull struggled throughout pre-season testing. Ricciardo managed 26 laps with team-mate and reigning champion Sebastian Vettel completing 10 laps with the 7th fastest time in the sister Red Bull. Nico Rosberg split the Red Bull pair in his Silver Arrow in 6th.

Kevin Magnussen ended his first Formula One practice session in 8th ahead of Ferrari returnee Kimi Raikkonen. Jean-Eric Vergne was 10th fastest in his Toro Rosso and was visibly struggling with his brakes, as was team-mate Daniil Kvyat who set the 13th fastest time. The two Force India drivers, Nico Hulkenburg and Sergio Perez, were in between the Toro Rossos in 11th and 12th respectively.

The Sauber cars of Gutierrez and Sutil ended FP1 in the 14th and 15th places ahead of the Marussia cars who only completed 10 laps between them.

A number of other drivers struggled along with the Marussia drivers. Team rivals Marcus Ericsson and Kamui Kobayashi didn’t complete a full lap in their Caterham cars.

Lewis Hamilton was a big name who had struggled in the first practice session. The pre-season favourite to take the title only managed half a lap before his engine shut-down following an oil pressure sensor warning.

Lotus had a poor first practice with Pastor Maldonado not setting a time after an off track excursion on his only lap. Team-mate Grosjean didn’t even leave the garage during the session.

POS Driver Team Time Laps
1 Fernando Alonso Ferrari 1’31.840 20
2 Jenson Button McLaren 1’32.357 23
3 Valtteri Bottas Williams 1’32.403 27
4 Felipe Massa Williams 1’32.431 19
5 Daniel Ricciardo Red Bull 1’32.599 26
6 Nico Rosberg Mercedes 1’32.604 17
7 Sebastian Vettel Red Bull 1’32.793 10
8 Kevin Magnussen McLaren 1’32.847 28
9 Kimi Raikkonen Ferrari 1’32.977 19
10 Jean-Eric Vergne Toro Rosso 1’33.446 30
11 Nico Hulkenburg Force India 1’33.533 23
12 Sergio Perez Force India 1’33.855 24
13 Daniil Kvyat Toro Rosso 1’34.272 27
14 Esteban Gutierrez Sauber 1’35.578 7
15 Adrian Sutil Sauber 1’36.445 13
16 Jules Bianchi Marussia 1’40.859 6
17 Max Chilton Marussia 1’46.922 4
18 Marcus Ericsson Caterham No Time 1
19 Lewis Hamilton Mercedes No Time 1
20 Kamui Kobayashi Caterham No Time 1
21 Pastor Maldonado Lotus No Time 2
22 Romain Grosjean Lotus No Time 0

Mercedes had been the team to beat throughout pre-season testing but had dropped back in FP1. They returned to the top of the time-sheets in the second practice session with an ominous 1-2 with Lewis Hamilton a tenth ahead of team-mate Nico Rosberg.

Having topped the first session of the year, Fernando Alonso took the 3rd fastest time ahead of Sebastian Vettel in 4th, who continued the upward trend of the Red Bull team following their diabolical pre-season. Vettel’s team-mate Ricciardo was 6th fastest in his RB10 just behind Jenson Button in 5th.

Kimi Raikkonen was 7th fastest in his Ferrari ahead of Valtteri Bottas and Kevin Magnussen. Nico Hulkenburg completed the top 10 in his Force India following a spin during the session.

Vergne was 11th fastest ahead of Massa, Perez and the Sauber cars of Sutil and Gutierrez. Daniil Kvyat was 16th fastest after having appeared to have held up a few cars during the 90 minutes.

Jules Bianchi was 17th fastest with team-mate Chilton in 19th. Romain Grosjean was 18th and in the Marussia sandwich after having completed 12 laps, 12 laps more than team-mate Pastor Maldonado who didn’t set a time. Neither Caterham completed a lap or set a time with fuel and hydraulic problems.

POS Driver Team Time Laps
1 Lewis Hamilton Mercedes 1’29.625 37
2 Nico Rosberg Mercedes 1’29.782 31
3 Fernando Alonso Ferrari 1’30.132 28
4 Sebastian Vettel Red Bull 1’30.381 41
5 Jenson Button McLaren 1’30.510 33
6 Daniel Ricciardo Red Bull 1’30.538 38
7 Kimi Raikkonen Ferrari 1’30.898 32
8 Valtteri Bottas Williams 1’30.920 38
9 Kevin Magnussen McLaren 1’31.031 34
10 Nico Hulkenburg Force India 1’31.054 33
11 Jean-Eric Vergne Toro Rosso 1’31.060 35
12 Felipe Massa Williams 1’31.119 31
13 Sergio Perez Force India 1’31.283 36
14 Adrian Sutil Sauber 1’32.355 36
15 Esteban Gutierrez Sauber 1’32.468 26
16 Daniil Kvyat Toro Rosso 1’32.495 38
17 Jules Bianchi Marussia 1’33.486 29
18 Romain Grosjean Lotus 1’33.646 12
19 Max Chilton Marussia 1’34.757 29
20 Marcus Ericsson Caterham No Time 1
21 Kamui Kobayashi Caterham No Time 0
22 Pastor Maldonado Lotus No Time 0

By Jordan Groves
Formula 1 correspondent for RTR Sports Marketing


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Emanuele Venturoli
Emanuele Venturoli
A graduate in Public, Social and Political Communication from the University of Bologna, he has always been passionate about marketing, design and sport.
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