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Alonso quickest in FP1 as Hamilton hits trouble

14 March 2014

CLICK HERE to view full FP1 times

Fernando Alonso set the fastest time of the opening practice session for the Australian Grand Prix as Lewis Hamilton failed to complete a lap.

Hamilton stopped on track after less than five minutes of the session as he completed just one sector of his installation lap. The stoppage was attributed to an oil pressure alarm which caused a precautionary engine shutdown, and came after Mercedes had confirmed the team already had to change the power unit on Hamilton's car due to an ancillary issue.

Alonso set a best time of 1:31.840 – some 4.6s slower than FP1 a year ago – to take top spot by over half a second from Jenson Button and Valtteri Bottas. Williams continued to show strongly with Felipe Massa fourth quickest as 0.074s covered second, third and fourth on the timesheets.

Daniel Ricciardo completed some strong running for Red Bull as he managed 26 laps and set the fifth fastest time – three quarters of a second off Alonso's best – just ahead of Nico Rosberg in the other Mercedes.

Sebastian Vettel was seventh quickest but again endured a frustrating session. Vettel didn't emerge until 50 minutes in to the session but managed to complete a run of five timed laps before later improving to a 1:32.793 as he was limited to just 10 laps in total. He finished the session 0.054s clear of rookie Kevin Magnussen in the McLaren, which is running with an updated livery.

After problems throughout pre-season, neither Lotus emerged until the final 20 minutes when Pastor Maldonado attempted an installation lap. However, on just his second lap smoke was seen coming from the cockpit and Maldonado ran wide at Turn 13 before stopping at the pit lane entry. His team-mate Romain Grosjean failed to emerge at all during the 90-minute session.

There were also further issues for both Marussia and Caterham. Max Chilton and Jules Bianchi completed just 10 laps between them, with Chilton stopping at the end of the pit lane late in the session as he attempted to start a fifth lap. For Caterham, Marcus Ericsson only managed to complete an installation lap before a battery issue ended his session, while Kamui Kobayashi also failed to emerge again after just one lap.

A number of drivers took trips across the grass at Turn 1 while Sergio Perez also had a half spin at Turn 3. It was Jean-Eric Vergne who had the biggest off at the same corner, however, locking up and running deep in to the gravel at the end of the session.

Full FP1 session times CLICK HERE


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