Rosberg tops as Mercedes sets pace in first practice

By Chris Lines, AP, 11 April 2013
© AP Photo/Manu Fernandez

Mercedes pair Nico Rosberg and Lewis Hamilton set the fastest times in Friday's opening practice session for the Chinese Grand Prix.

Rosberg, who won here last year for his sole F1 victory, set a time of 1 minute, 36.717 seconds around the Shanghai International Circuit, putting him almost half a second ahead of teammate Hamilton, who is the only two-time winner of this Grand Prix.

Red Bull pair Mark Webber and Sebastian Vettel, who are feuding off the track in the continuation of the Malaysian team orders furore, were third and fourth fastest respectively.

Ferrari's Fernando Alonso and Felipe Massa were fifth and seventh, separated by the McLaren of Jenson Button.

Button's teammate Sergio Perez was the only notable casualty of the session, failing to negotiate the sharp left turn entering the road to pit lane and going nose first into a tyre wall. He ended up in the same gravel trap that famously ended the championship challenge of his McLaren predecessor Hamilton in 2007.

Force India pair Adrian Sutil and Paul di Resta were eighth and tenth fastest respectively, with Lotus' Romain Grosjean between them. Lotus Kimi Raikkonen, who won the season-opening Australian GP, was 11th.

The session was held in clear but cool conditions, with no rain forecast for the race weekend.

 

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