Belgian Grand Prix FP1 times HERE
Nico Rosberg set the fastest time of first practice for the Belgian Grand Prix as he beat team-mate Lewis Hamilton by less than 0.1s.
On a Spa-Francorchamps circuit expected to suit the Mercedes-powered cars Rosberg traded best times with Hamilton and came out on top with a 1:51.577 to his team-mate's 1:51.674. Hamilton appeared to be one of a number of drivers struggling at Pouhon, twice running off track when on quick laps.
Close behind the Mercedes pair was Fernando Alonso, who was just 0.228s off the pace in his Ferrari. Jenson Button was fourth quickest on a track he won at in 2012, but the McLaren was the only other car within a second of Rosberg's time as times were spread out due to the length of the 7.002km track.
With Alonso impressing, Kimi Raikkonen was fifth fastest as Ferrari again started a race weekend with strong pace. However, Raikkonen did spin at Turn 1 as the 2014 cars proved difficult to drive during the opening session. The Ferrari was at the head of a group of five cars covered by just 0.154s which also comprised of Sergio Perez, Kevin Magnussen, Nico Hulkenberg and Daniel Ricciardo.
Valtteri Bottas rounded out the top ten ahead of Sebastian Vettel who endured another difficult session. The reigning world champion – who on Thursday said it was unfair to compare him with Ricciardo due to reliability issues this year
– completed just 11 laps before he was consigned to the Red Bull garage and spent time with his mechanics looking at a problem at the rear of the car.
There was much interest at both Marussia and Caterham throughout the session following driver changes for both teams. Alexander Rossi got his first FP1 run in place of Max Chilton, but news broke early in the session that Chilton would return to complete the race weekend himself
. Rossi's first appearance ended with 20 laps and a best time 1.4s slower than team-mate Jules Bianchi.
At Caterham, debutant Andre Lotterer – filling in for Kamui Kobayashi this weekend – had an impressive FP1 as he was 0.1s quicker than team-mate Marcus Ericsson. Ericsson's cause was not helped by a spin at Turn 1 at the start of his second run, but both drivers were over six seconds off the overall pace despite a new aerodynamic package including a new nose on the Caterham.