It was a mixed start to Marco Mattiacci’s career as Ferrari team boss as Fernando Alonso was quickest in Friday’s first practice in China while Kimi Raikkonen failed to set a time.
On a cold and misty morning in Shanghai where the track temperature rose to just 16’C, Nico Rosberg set the early pace with a 1:40.840, 0.464s ahead of Alonso while Lewis Hamilton was in third place.
Just past the midway point, Alonso hit the front as the Mercedes drivers were in the pits. The Spaniard posted a 1:39.783.
However, when Hamilton ventured out for his second run he soon headed back in with an undisclosed problem with his W05 that led to the team removing the car’s floor.
As for Rosberg, the German closed the gap on Alonso but fell short by 0.398s, meaning Alonso claimed the P1 in Ferrari’s first session under new team boss Mattiacci.
Daniel Ricciardo was third quickest for Red Bull Racing, 0.9s off the pace, while Jenson Button finished in fourth place ahead of Nico Hulkenberg and Kevin Magnussen.
There were problems for Raikkonen as the Finn missed the first 30 minutes of the session with an undisclosed problem.
He eventually headed out for a single installation lap but the problem persisted and he was soon back in the pits where he remained for the session.
Jules Bianchi only set his first time with two minutes to go in the session as a fuel system issue discovered on his installation lap meant he missed the bulk of practice.
Meanwhile, there were a few spins on the cold track as Pastor Maldonado had an early off. Looking down at his steering wheel, the Lotus driver wasn’t paying attention to the track and drove straight off. The incident ended in a spin but no damage to anything other than the driver’s ego.
Daniil Kvyat joined the list as he also ran wide with his Toro Rosso pitched into a spin while adding a second late in the session.
01 Fernando Alonso Ferrari 1:39.783 20 laps
02 Nico Rosberg Mercedes 1:40.181 +0.398 16 laps
03 Daniel Ricciardo Red Bull 1:40.772 +0.989 23 laps
04 Jenson Button McLaren 1:40.970 +1.187 23 laps
05 Nico Hulkenberg Force India 1:41.175 +1.392 16 laps
06 Kevin Magnussen McLaren 1:41.366 +1.583 20 laps
07 Jean-Eric Vergne Toro Rosso 1:41.505 +1.722 26 laps
08 Lewis Hamilton Mercedes 1:41.560 +1.777 9 laps
09 Sebastian Vettel Red Bull 1:41.629 +1.846 19 laps
10 Felipe Massa Williams 1:41.699 +1.916 14 laps
11 Daniil Kvyat Toro Rosso 1:41.977 +2.194 23 laps
12 Romain Grosjean Lotus 1:42.090 +2.307 24 laps
13 Felipe Nasr Williams 1:42.265 +2.482 13 laps
14 Giedo van der Garde Sauber 1:42.615 +2.832 16 laps
15 Sergio Perez Force India 1:42.733 +2.950 13 laps
16 Pastor Maldonado Lotus 1:43.731 +3.948 22 laps
17 Kamui Kobayashi Caterham 1:44.038 +4.255 16 laps
18 Esteban Gutierrez Sauber 1:44.162 +4.379 17 laps
19 Jules Bianchi Marussia 1:44.270 +4.487 7 laps
20 Max Chilton Marussia 1:44.782 +4.999 20 laps
21 Marcus Ericsson Caterham 1:44.835 +5.052 22 laps
22 Kimi Raikkonen Ferrari No time 1 lap