Rosberg quickest as engine failure halts Verstappen

2014 Japanese Grand Prix first practice

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Mercedes were first and second as usual in the first practice session for the Japanese Grand Prix, with Nico Rosberg ahead by 15 hundredths of a second.

Rosberg had a similar margin over Lewis Hamilton on both their new-tyre runs during the session. Despite concerns the weather will soon take a sever turn for the worse, conditions remained dry throughout the 90 minutes of running.

Valtteri Bottas trailed the Mercedes pair initially in his Williams but was pegged back by Fernando Alonso. The Ferrari driver was confined to the pits towards the end of the session with a technical problem, but the sister car of Kimi Raikkonen made it two Ferraris in the top five.

Despite this being his first visit to Suzuka, and running wide at the Spoon Curve on one lap, Kevin Magnussen posted the sixth-fastest time. However he was concerned about a general lack of grip in his McLaren.

He was followed by Daniel Ricciardo’s Red Bull and then their two team mates. Daniil Kvyat completed the top ten for Toro Rosso.

Much attention was focused on the second STR9 belonging to Max Verstappen, the 17-year-old becoming the youngest driver every to participate in an official F1 session. His running was cut short six minutes from the end of the session when smoke from the rear of his car signalled an apparent Renault engine failure.

The other reserve driver on track during the session was Caterham’s Roberto Merhi, who finished 1.4s slower than Marcus Ericsson followig a spin at Spoon Curve.

Pos.No.DriverCarBest lapGapLaps
16Nico RosbergMercedes1’35.46127
244Lewis HamiltonMercedes1’35.6120.15126
314Fernando AlonsoFerrari1’36.0370.57619
477Valtteri BottasWilliams-Mercedes1’36.5761.11525
57Kimi RaikkonenFerrari1’37.1871.72619
620Kevin MagnussenMcLaren-Mercedes1’37.3271.86624
73Daniel RicciardoRed Bull-Renault1’37.4662.00527
822Jenson ButtonMcLaren-Mercedes1’37.6492.18824
91Sebastian VettelRed Bull-Renault1’37.6862.22526
1026Daniil KvyatToro Rosso-Renault1’37.7142.25326
1119Felipe MassaWilliams-Mercedes1’38.0122.55122
1238Max VerstappenToro Rosso-Renault1’38.1572.69622
1311Sergio PerezForce India-Mercedes1’38.3242.86310
1427Nico HulkenbergForce India-Mercedes1’38.5823.1219
158Romain GrosjeanLotus-Renault1’38.8513.39021
1699Adrian SutilSauber-Ferrari1’39.0463.58519
1713Pastor MaldonadoLotus-Renault1’39.0973.63626
1821Esteban GutierrezSauber-Ferrari1’39.3183.85718
199Marcus EricssonCaterham-Renault1’40.0314.57018
2045Roberto MerhiCaterham-Renault1’41.4726.01124
2117Jules BianchiMarussia-Ferrari1’41.5806.11910
224Max ChiltonMarussia-Ferrari1’41.7576.29615

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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26 comments on “Rosberg quickest as engine failure halts Verstappen”

  1. I wonder if Lewis was trying “wet” set-ups.

    1. Would that explain why he drove so long on the hard tire? Cause it had little grip left, like a wet track?

      1. Edit: Betting on a wet set up seems more risky as the latest on the Fan Phone weather might stall and not head north to the track till monday.

    2. Maybe but according to this season, Suzuka shouldn’t be too to his liking but he may get lucky and may get rain, I think lewis weakness is rear tyre management and a lot of tracks by the end of the season are going to make havoc of them.

    3. lewis has never been that great in pure driving circuits like Monaco, Spa and Suzuka – which leaves an opportunity for Rosberg.

      1. Formula-I (@)
        3rd October 2014, 7:28

        that is why he’s not perfect, but that cannot be a reason to be not a chamipon

      2. I think for the past few races, Lewis has been using the tactic of ”look rubbish in practice but blitz it out in qualifying and race” so It’s too soon to see how Lewis fairs at Suzuka. It could be just playing mind games with Nico.

      3. @peartree go back and see the 2008 and 2010 Belgian GP

          1. to see how Lewis drove in Spa on those occasions. Yesterday he proved again to be a much better driver than Rosberg, especially in wet conditions, when drivers skills are much more evident.

  2. Hard to draw conclusions in terms of performance given that this is also Kvyat’s first session at Suzuka, but he never put a foot wrong all session. That’s the way to start, steady and safe. A big merit at a place like this…

    Good job, Max (Verstappen, not the other folk)

    1. And a well worn, thus gutless, engine in the back.

    2. Didn’t put a wheel wrong all session, and stayed on Kvyat’s pace. And Kvyat is a really great 1st-year talent in his own right.

      Yeah, he’s ready.

    3. Great job. I think the Sky pundits were working against the extreme expectations but to drive a car against someone who knows that car thoroughly on a dangerous track, that’s something worth mentioning.

    4. Just woke up and browsed to this website to look up the times set during FP1. Naturally started looking for Verstappen’s time from the bottom up and was surprised to see I didn’t find his name until I haf reached 12th position. Fantastic job. He’s ready.

      1. Exactly the same here

      2. ColdFly F1 (@)
        3rd October 2014, 6:35

        @roald, same for me.
        I saw Max last, realising a split second later it was Chilton.
        And next I checked if 22 cars set a time.

  3. Kvyat + Max seems to be a very exciting pairing to watch out for!

    1. And maybe a Danny + Max pairing some day…..

  4. The McLaren looked a completely different car here in Suzuka. It seems McLaren brought a reworked sidepod configuration. Also they worked on the Singapore front wing nevertheless Suzuka should in true to 2014 form be a serious challenge to McLaren and almost sure to be the slowest Mercedes team but thus far the upgrades seem to work ok.

    1. 2 seconds behind Mercedes, yep McLaren are catching up.

  5. Nico just go away lol, please make it easier for Hamilton. I just want Ham to be a 2xWCso badly, i aint even enjoying f1 at the moment so tense as a Ham fan. One thing for sure the avg says Nico will win 1 of these races. Hopefully he wins them now and Lewis wins Abu Dhabi.

    1. Hm, If being a Hamilton fan means you wish him to take that championship without competition, you should really rethink your expectations of a sport and maybe start following something else.

      If was a fan of Hamilton, I would like to see him win from 2nd or 4th or even 9th, just to see some great racing from him. And take the title with only a few points between them at the final round (well the one before that, because Abu Double – just NO)

      1. Huh no i don’t want it to be boring but when you are a fan of a driver who as just 1 WC you sort of would not mind him getting a easier WC. Fact is Ham has been the better driver and has just a 3pt lead. Cruel would be the word to describe it if Nico wins this WC, unless he goes 100% the next few races.

        Im sure Alo fans feel similar they feel time is ticking. Ham is young but a WC for Ros imo Ham will never win another title. He could dominate if he gets this title. Also no i won’t follow another sport i think it is perfecly normal to root for one guy more than the rest. I also would like to see Alo win another so im not biast.

    2. Formula-I (@)
      3rd October 2014, 7:20

      that’s means it even more unworthy world champions. i like championship took by Vettel 2010 style

  6. ColdFly F1 (@)
    3rd October 2014, 6:39

    Can’t wait for Kob to show if Catherham can challenge Saubers and Lotuses.

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