Mercedes fastest again as Alonso has tyre mix-up

2014 Bahrain Grand Prix first practice

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Mercedes took up their increasingly familiar positions at the top of the times sheets in the first practice session for the Bahrain Grand Prix.

Lewis Hamilton set the pace at the beginning of the session with a 1’38.395. Team mate Nico Rosberg, who had a problem with a flat battery on one of his early runs, came within a tenth of a second of his team mate.

Ferrari briefly took over the fastest time when Fernando Alonso went out with 15 minutes to go, setting a 1’37.953.

But the silver cars returned to the track once more shortly afterwards to reclaim the top spots as first Rosberg, then Hamilton lowered the best lap time, leaving it at 1’37.502.

Alonso had a minor drama early in the session when his Ferrari was sent from his garage with three medium tyres and a single soft, on the front-left. He came to a stop in the pit lane and was pushed back to his box to have the incorrect tyre replaced.

Two more Mercedes-powered cars followed Alonso in the final classification: Nico Hulkenberg’s Force India ahead of Jenson Button’s McLaren. Button and team mate Magnussen reported braking problems early in the session.

Kimi Raikkonen was next for Ferrari despite running very wide at turn one – which has been renamed after Michael Schumacher – when he locked up on one lap.

Behind Magnussen was Daniil Kvyat, who enjoyed a more productive session in his Toro Rosso than his team mate. Jean-Eric Vergne repeatedly complained about problems with inconsistent power delivery from his Renault V6 turbo.

Sergio Perez was ninth for Force India and Sebastian Vettel completed the top ten for Red Bull, who on this first indication seem to be further off the pace at this track than Sepang.

Giedo van der Garde made his return to an F1 cockpit, driving for Sauber in place of Esteban Gutirrez. Felipe Nasr and Robin Frijns made their first appearances in an official F1 practice session, the latter outpacing team mate Marcus Ericsson by three tenths of a second.

Pos.No.DriverCarBest lapGapLaps
144Lewis HamiltonMercedes1’37.50214
26Nico RosbergMercedes1’37.7330.23113
314Fernando AlonsoFerrari1’37.9530.45117
427Nico HulkenbergForce India-Mercedes1’38.1220.62010
522Jenson ButtonMcLaren-Mercedes1’38.6361.13416
67Kimi RaikkonenFerrari1’38.7831.28112
720Kevin MagnussenMcLaren-Mercedes1’38.9491.44715
826Daniil KvyatToro Rosso-Renault1’39.0561.55424
911Sergio PerezForce India-Mercedes1’39.1021.60021
101Sebastian VettelRed Bull-Renault1’39.3891.88716
1119Felipe MassaWilliams-Mercedes1’39.5332.03111
1225Jean-Eric VergneToro Rosso-Renault1’39.8622.36026
1340Felipe NasrWilliams-Mercedes1’40.0762.57414
143Daniel RicciardoRed Bull-Renault1’40.4062.90419
1599Adrian SutilSauber-Ferrari1’40.6523.15020
1613Pastor MaldonadoLotus-Renault1’40.7933.29131
1717Jules BianchiMarussia-Ferrari1’40.8893.38720
1836Giedo van der GardeSauber-Ferrari1’40.9133.41120
198Romain GrosjeanLotus-Renault1’41.0363.53424
204Max ChiltonMarussia-Ferrari1’41.7944.29220
2146Robin FrijnsCaterham-Renault1’42.4174.91535
229Marcus EricssonCaterham-Renault1’42.7115.20921

Image © Daimler/Hoch Zwei

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Keith Collantine
Lifelong motor sport fan Keith set up RaceFans in 2005 - when it was originally called F1 Fanatic. Having previously worked as a motoring...

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76 comments on “Mercedes fastest again as Alonso has tyre mix-up”

  1. My God the Caterhams are sloooowwww.
    I feel for KK. It must be a shock after 2012’s Sauber.

    1. Romain won’t be delighted as well.

    2. @gwenouille

      That sentence would sound amazing in Stewie Griffin’s voice!

      1. AAhahahaha!!!

    3. its just a practice…I believe Caterham is a lot stronger than Marussia,….maybe they just puts some tests on some tire and tactics. i think KK is much faster than those two

  2. Hans (@hanswesterbeek)
    4th April 2014, 13:41

    Interesting to see that Frijs was consistently faster than Ericsson. I have a feeling that Caterham might be interested in a balanced comparison between the two.

    1. GB (@bgp001ruled)
      4th April 2014, 18:16

      yep: ericssons future doesnt look good!!! oh wait: he is a pay-driver! i mean: ericssons future shouldnt look good!!!

  3. Caterham’s GP2 team were quicker in their first practice session earlier today – Rio Haryanto did a 1’42.388.

    The fastest time of the session overall was a 1’42.062 by Mitch Evans, so only Caterham were slower than that.

    1. Well, hey… Kobayashi really was correct :(
      Both funny and incredibly sad that’s the case, though.

    2. That is sad indeed. The slowest F1 should nonetheless be faster than any GP2 car.

    3. WilliamB (@william-brierty)
      4th April 2014, 14:09

      @keithcollantine – And Haryanto, in the Caterham EQ8 GP2 car, set a 39.1 in GP2 testing, a further three seconds down the road! That said, Ericsson did a 38.0 in winter testing and whilst the Caterham appears to be the team with the best handle on the GP2/11 chassis, Caterham are the slowest team in F1.

    4. @keithcollantine Were F2 (or F3000?) cars faster than the Osella FA1L?

    5. and the make matters worse they are destined to sit at the back of the grid for the rest of season

      1. @kartingjimbo What does “CE” stand for? I can make out all others, but this one…

        1. Control electronics

      2. @keithcollantine @kartingjimbo can a team fixed the broken parts and reintroduce them to the car? thus not losing a component from the allocation?

        1. That said i heard paddy (i think) saying that most likely all the power unit will be replaced at the same time.
          They did repare lewis’s ICE after australia…

  4. Sergio Perez was ninth for Toro Rosso

    @keithcollantine He drives for Force India…

  5. Behsin Magnussen…

    1. i think its a typo error

    2. Is the short form for “behind Kevin”.

    3. Behsin is Kevin’s Persian cousin.

    4. It is correct. His real name is Behsin Rastrussen -Magnussen…

  6. I wont be surprised if Force India takes podium this sunday.. HULK rules!!!!

  7. The 2 highlights of the session were Terrari`s blooper sending Alonso out of the pits with 3 mediums and a soft tyre, and the shot of Hulkemberg turning with Alonso`s shadow on top.
    All in all roughly what we expected. Mecedes quite dominant, with all Mercedes customers well in front too. The bulls struggling a bit, and Hulkemberg showing yet again he`s a force to be reckoned.

    1. What would happen if a team blundered like Ferrari did in the race?

      1. Have a feeling it could lead to disqualification.

      2. Didn’t force India do that a few years ago? Might not have been mixed compounds, just mixed sets between the drivers.

        I think they got a grid drop for the next race.

        1. Mr win or lose
          4th April 2014, 15:06

          You’re right. It was the infamous 2010 German Grand Prix. As far as I know, Sutil had to stop again to replace the remaining tyre.

        2. It was the 2010 German GP, they mixed the drivers’ tyres up. They both had to stop again to be replaced. That was a crazy race!

    2. Terrari = Ferrari…
      Thick fingers. Tiny keyboard….

      1. LOL, you could have made it even funnier:

        Fhick tingers. Finy keyboard…

      2. I thought you wrote that on purpose, for “terrible Ferrari” crew…

  8. now wouldn’t that be great HULK beating RB, i guess it is possible there will only be one of them to beat, as the other is regulated back 10 spots,
    now that would get the RB fans moaning even more about noise/fuel/tries/speed/passing/lap times.

    1. Yes because not one fan of another team is moaning about noise/fuel/tries/speed/passing/lap times. It is only RB fans.

      ‘Better say nothing and let people think you’re a fool than speak and confirm it’

    2. now that would get the RB fans moaning even more about noise/fuel/tries/speed/passing/lap times.

      I’m a Red bull fan and I’ve got no bl**dy complains apart from people – mostly those who don’t call themselves RBR fans (and whoever makes HTML forms for Ferrari certainly isn’t), complaining like you seem to expect a rBR fan to be complaining.

      That, and how awful the engines RBR are using are – not F1’s fault.

    3. @lethalnz

      now that would get the RB fans moaning even more about noise/fuel/tries/speed/passing/lap times

      well, according to the Ferrari poll, it’s the Tifolsi doing all the moaning (83%). I can just imagine the Tifolsi after FP1 “first Ferrari cannot make the car, now they cannot put the tires on the car!” and the Ferrari poll just went to 91% moaning, er, disappointed with F1. :)

  9. Why is Robin Frijin’s name not hyperlinked in the table above?

    1. Probably no driver bio. Keith has a lot to do without write-ups on reserve drivers who tend to come and go.

      1. I suppose those drivers haven’t had full-time drives in F1 so they won’t have a bio until they get one, unlike van der Garde, who has one.

  10. nico was pushing very hard,looking at his onboard,compared to lewis.

    1. Or Lewis can predict the handling of the car and anticipate any corrective action, else Rosberg hasn’t set his car up properly.

  11. Anyone can throw some light whether Ericsson is driving that Caterham purely on talent basis or is he bringing in some Sponsorship money with him ?

    1. I heard when he signed that he brought some sponsorship, but I don’t see any on the cars. Then again he could still be bringing money in somehow.
      If he doesn’t then I’m sure we’ll see Frijns in the car instead at some point this season.

      1. GB (@bgp001ruled)
        4th April 2014, 22:19

        yes i think so too. frijns made ericsson look bad today!!!

    2. He most certainly is bringing in money (around $15mil) and balanced with his past career (GP2 – 8th 2012 / 6th 2013) the former seems to have taken presidence in the decision on who took the seat.

      1. Ericsson indeed brings some money with him to Caterham. Frijns however doesn’t, and is purely their reserve driver because of his talent.

      2. Ericsson’s speed seems to have gone a little since he tested the Brawn F1 car. But he was Webberly unlucky last year, and would have been 3rd behind Leimer, Bird, battling with Calado without that bad luck. He’s a raw talent that seems to be re-emerging after the GP2 doldrums, and has 2 junior titles from before that. Only Chilton has never finished top 3 in a junior category, lucking into two fourths, so it could even be no top 5s.

        For Caterham, they need the cash. Not at all costs – they could have taken VDG/Ericsson for over $30m, but they went with a bit less and Kobayashi, and the chance to train up Frijns as well. I’ve heard conflicting stories on how much backing Robin has managed to find with his new management, ranging from none to $5m.

      3. Thanks @kartingjimbo for the links. I was wondering that why Frijins is their test driver when he indeed is more talented than Ericsson. Ericsson being pay driver clears it all.

    3. Ericsson is what you call a real pay driver.
      Based on talent, Frijns should be in that car 100% sure.
      At Caterham they say they wanted to put Frijns in that car, but they chose for the save option..
      Well in my ears that sounds like, we chose for the money instead of talent.
      Not that I have anything against Ericsson, but in my opinion Frijns has a lot more talent.

      1. Kobayashi-Frijns would be a great line up, putting a former Eurocup FR 2.0 champion (2005, 2011) in each race seat.

        1. In theory it would of been pretty tasty but looking at Caterhams situation atm lap time wise I don’t think it matters who sits in that car :/

      2. GB (@bgp001ruled)
        4th April 2014, 22:25

        no money, no team! so it is understandable. but in the long run no talent will also mean no success and then no money and no team!

  12. Hülkenberg and Alonso proving they are the class of the field by staying within one second of the Mercedes cars.

    1. True, I’m really pleased to see such performances!

    2. So because less than 1 second their the best lol. Hamilton and Vet im sure would be like Hulk in that car.

  13. OK, so Ferrari is again the fastest, Mercedes apart, while RBR is miles away. Let’s see how much Ferrari wll drop in Quali and Race… again !

    That Force India looks pretty fast. Must be their best car so far in F1, although Hulkenberg is doing a great job too and his contribution is visible.

  14. Chris (@tophercheese21)
    4th April 2014, 14:13

    That was funny, the two Mercedes boys looked like they were done for the session, when all of a sudden Fernando went quickest, so Lewis and Nico responded minutes later by going quicker still.

    In other news, the Lotus looks positively awful to drive. The rear end is so loose, they can barely keep it on the black stuff.

    1. Why do they need to do that ? psychological boost ? I am sure they can hide their pace a little bit more . Already people are bored :-P. But I guess the merc boys are tired of being beaten by red bull from 2010 and they want to dance a little .

      1. Chris (@tophercheese21)
        4th April 2014, 15:53

        I’m not getting bored! haha I love this! Lewis finally in a truly dominant car. I now know how the Vettel fans felt for the past 3 years.

        1. @tophercheese21 Ha Ha yeah! I love Q3 of Lewis.Whether he is in a good car or not . He shines in most of the sessions. Time to improve his race consistency a little and get some stats to his favor.

  15. Ted on Sky F1 said something about Ferrari and McLaren already using up their one shot at changing the gear ratios.

    Does anybody have more light on this?

  16. Guys, stop reading that much into times, it’s practice.

    1. Yeh, I agree.

      We all love a bit of information, but really, many of us should know by now that this is merely an indicator, not the absolute real pecking order.

    2. So ?!? Actually, nowadays, the FPs shows a lot more the true speed of the cars. They’re running the same cars, so it matters in order to have a better image of what’s going on exactly.

  17. Wow that Force India was flying, looking at the speed trap Hulkenberg hit 327.8 km/h. Ferrari almost 20km/h slower and RB 30 km/h slower. I can´t remember seeing this big speed differences for a while. Well it was only FP1 so lets wait and see FP2

  18. So the sabotage of Nico begins. Events are unfolding before our very eyes that so mirror the plight of Mark Webber, who was ultimately forced out of the sport because of Sebastian and his German contacts. Now Nico finds himself behind the same underhanded gamesmanship. You all saw that look of sadistic mirth on face of Lewis after his last win. I wouldn’t be surprised to find out that Red Bull is behind all of this.

    1. I can only hope this is tongue in cheek…

      1. c’mon, it’s funny (except for those that it isn’t)

  19. Frijns faster than Ericson, and Nasr two places behind Massa. Have either of them driven the cars before?

    1. Probably it means something the fact that F1 cars today are closer to GP2 cars more than ever in performance.

  20. Where is Williams? :(

    1. GB (@bgp001ruled)
      4th April 2014, 22:30


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