Nico Rosberg led the way in FP1 in Valencia
Nico Rosberg headed up the first practice session for the European Grand Prix in Valencia today. He lead the McLarens of Lewis Hamilton and Jenson Button. Test drivers Christian Klien and Paul di Resta also made an appearance in their HRT and Force India cars respectively.
Ferrari, Mercedes and Renault were all testing their new exhaust-driven diffusers, while Red Bull were testing their F-duct device again. after not running it in Canada.
In the first half of the session, the red flag was out, as Bruno Senna’s wing mirror came off his car, and was consequently hit by Sebastien Buemi and Heikki Kovalainen. The session was halted while the marshals cleared the debris off the track.
The track was very dusty, and therefore the times were quite slow, but it didn’t stop Rosberg topping the session with a 1.41.175. The McLarens of Hamilton and Button were 0.16 and 0.2 seconds behind respectively. Robert Kubica did well to bring his Renault up to 4th, while Felipe Massa was an entire second behind the leaders in 5th.
The two Red Bulls of Vettel and Webber were 6th and 7th, then Michael Schumacher and Fernando Alonso were 8th and 9th. The two Williams cars of Barrichello and Hulkenberg were 10th and 11th. Vitaly Petrov was 12th, and Sebastien Buemi was 2.1 seconds behind Rosberg in 13th.
Vitantonio Liuzzi was 14th, with Pedro de la Rosa 15th. Paul di Resta was 16th, and only 0.06 seconds slower than Liuzzi. Kamui Kobayashi was 2.5 seconds back from the leaders in 17th, while Jaime Alguersuari was another 5 tenths slower in 18th, as the slowest of the midfield.
As expected, the Lotus of Kovalainen was the fastest of the new teams in 19th, only 3.3 seconds behind Rosberg. Timo Glock was 20th, albeit another 1.1 seconds back. Bruno Senna was another 1.5 seconds slower than that in 21st, and Jarno Trulli was 22nd. Christian Klien was 23rd, 2 tenths slower than his team-mate, despite setting only 14 laps. Lucas di Grassi filled the final spot on the timesheets.
After the dust cleared, tyre graining was the next problem. Lotus in particular was struggling with controlling the front left tyre’s wear. Jaime Alguersuari also said that his tyres were “destroyed”.
Times from FP1: