Mercedes’ Nico Rosberg out-paced teammate Lewis Hamilton by a noteworthy large margin of 0.5 of a second. His time on soft tyres was more than 2/10ths of a second faster than Mercedes’ pole-gaining lap from 2015.
Ferrari’s Kimi Raikkonen finished in 3rd behind the two Mercedes’, however was 1.9s behind on the same tyre compound. However, with the two Ferrari’s running under the radar for the majority of the practice session, the pace of the Mercedes’ is unlikely to be so come qualifying tomorrow. Sebastian Vettel did not run on the soft tyres at all, choosing instead to run on two of the three mediums he has chosen for the weekend, coming in at 11th place.
Haas’ Esteban Gutierrez came in at 13th. This weekend, he will be using a new chassis after the one used in Australia two weeks ago was cracked when it was craned off the track following his collision with Alonso.
Alonso’s replacement for this weekend, Stoffel Vandoorne, came in at 18th, a little over four seconds behind Rosberg.
Force India’s reserve, Alfonso Celis Jr., drove in the first of his seven FP1 sessions for this year, finishing 21st on the timesheet, and nearly five seconds behind Rosberg, with Manor’s Rio Haryanto bringing up the rear of the pack, 5.420s down on the leader.
Mercedes’ Nico Rosberg managed to keep his teammate at bay for the second and final session of the day, coming in as the fastest for the second time today.
Sebastian Vettel came in at 3rd on the softs, 0.477s off the pace of Rosberg, however made 2 mistakes whilst on his super-softs, and failed to improve from there. The four-time world champion’s session came to a premature end when he came to a halt on the track with an incorrectly-fitted left rear tyre which came loose in the last 15 minutes of the session.
Stoffel Vandoorne continued with his so far impressive race-weekend debut, reaching 11th as his fastest time. His pace was 7/10th’s off teammate Jenson Button.
Haas’ Romain Grosjean ran off the track later in the practice session, reporting that his front wing had become detached from his car and lodged itself underneath the body on the 13th corner of the track, causing a virtual safety car so the debris could be removed.