Fernando Alonso set the early pace in Barcelona this morning, the local favourite topping the FP1 timesheet with a time of 1:24.430, just under four tenths of a second clear of Sebastian Vettel and almost five ahead of third-placed Kamui Kobayashi.
Kobayashi headed the timesheet for a long spell at the beginning of the session but was eventually eclipsed by Vettel. The German’s time at the top wasn’t long, however, and 20 minutes before the end of the session Alonso jumped to the head of the list in the revised Ferrari, a position he held until the close of the morning action.
In a largely uneventful session, Jenson Button finished fourth with a time of 1:24.996 ahead of the impressive Valtteri Bottas who drove for Williams in place of Bruno Senna. Michael Schumacher finished sixth, the Mercedes driver being followed by Lotus’ Romain Grosjean. The top ten was rounded out by eighth-placed Lewis Hamilton, Lotus’ Kimi Raikkonen and Force India’s Nico Hulkenberg.
Two drivers made their grand prix weekend debut in the session. American racer Alexander Rossi piloted Heikki Kovalainen’s Caterham CT01 to 21st place with a time of 1:28.448, almost a second down on regular race driver Vitaly Petrov, who ended the session 19th. Spaniard Dani Clos replaced Narain Karthikeyan in the HRT but the GP2 driver’s car developed a problem late in the session and he was forced to crawl back to the pits.