Nico Rosberg finishes on top in FP1 ahead Japanese Grand Prix
By: S. Harding, Xiro Xone News October 7, 2016 Updated: 5:33 AM
Mercedes driver Nico Rosberg finished on top after the first practice for Sunday’s Japanese Grand Prix, in Suzuka. Rosberg was 0.215s ahead of his teammate Lewis Hamilton who finished second, with both Mercedes drivers on the soft (Yellow band) tire.
“On the soft tyre we showed strong one-lap pace, the balance felt good and the track was really exciting to drive. It looks like we’r e ahead of the Ferraris but it remains to be seen as to where we are compared to the Red Bulls,” said Rosberg.
Ferrari’s Sebastian Vettel ended FP1 in third just 0.292s ahead of teammate Kimi Raikkonen in fourth, with Daniel Ricciardo in fifth. Ricciardo’s teammate Max Verstappen ended the session in sixth.
Red Bull chose to run the hard (Orange band) and medium (White band) tire this session, without any runs on the soft tire. Suzuka could prove to be a strong track for the team with the possibility of rain, this weekend.
“After Malaysia we are looking for another good result, this track should suit us and we are close to the top guys at the moment. Ferrari are in the mix, short runs look ok but I’m not sure how their long ones are going, I’m hoping we can handle them though,” said Verstappen.
Force India’s Nico Hulkenberg finished seventh and was 0.237 faster than his teammmate Sergio Perez. Fernando Alonso was ninth for McLaren-Honda, who suffered a spin into the barriers on lap 11, which Damaged his exhaust and rear wing and ended the two time world champions session.
“There’s not a huge amount to say really because it was a routine, standard day of practice. We just worked through the run plan with no dramas and collected all the information on the different tyre compounds,“ said Hulkenberg
Williams Valtteri Bottas took tenth, ahead of Daniil Kvyat and Carlos Sainz for Toro Rosso in 11th and 12th. Jenson Button ended his day 13th, ahead of a very important weekend, as he and his teammate look to turn out a good result for their engine supplier’s home race.
Haas F1 driver Romain Grosjean finished 14th but after running wide during the session, damaged his front wing after contact with a barrier.
“First off, this is always a great track to drive. We have a lot of fun around here. Clearly, we had some issues with the brakes today, which didn’t make our life easy, but eventually we worked our way around it. We still have a lot of work to do tonight trying to balance the car. It’s one of those tracks where the timing is very tight. Two tenths of a second can make a big difference. Let’s hope we find those,” said Grosjean.
Sauber's Felipe Nasr finished 15th with the Williams's of Felipe Massa finishing 16th, with only five races left of his final season. Esteban Gutierrez ended the day 17th for Haas F1 while, the second Sauber of Marcus Ericsson finished 18th.
Kevin Magnussen finished his day in 19th for Renault. The Manors of Esteban Ocon and Pascal Wehrein split the Renaults at the end of the session in 20th and 21st. Jolyon Palmer finished out the final spot on the grid in 22nd.