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Hamilton heads Raikkonen and Rosberg in FP1

NEWS STORY
28/03/2014

Ahead of today's opening session, the air temperature is 29 degrees C, while the track temperature is 37 degrees.

Tyres available this weekend are the hard (prime) and medium (option). There are two DRS zones, one on the start/finish straight and the other on the final straight.

As one would expect the event is overshadowed by the still unfolding tragedy of flight MH370, and in respect of this many drivers and cars are sporting messages of support.

As one would expect, these being the opening flyaway races of the season, there are no reserve/third drivers on duty.

The lights go green and, unusually, Alonso is first out, followed by Ericsson, Raikkonen, Bottas, Magnussen, Vergne and Kobayashi.

Within five minutes all but Vettel have been out for an installation lap, Magnussen and Button competing two. The McLarens sporting numerous new parts including a new nose… consequently lots of flo-vis.

Rosberg, who gets a little sideways, complains of a problem with his car. "I almost spun because the rears locked," he says.

Gutierrez is the first driver out for a second run, the Mexican subsequently followed by one of the Melbourne heroes, Bottas.

As Gutierrez begins his first flying lap, Ericsson complains that his car keeps cutting out. He subsequently slows.

Gutierrez posts the first time of the weekend, the Sauber driver crossing the line at 1:45.851. Moments later Bottas posts 44.359.

A 45.114 sees Massa go second - making it a Williams 1-2 - while Chilton goes fourth with a 48.021.

Bottas improves to 43.193 as Alonso and Button head down the pitlane. On his first lap the Spaniard immediately goes quickest, posting 42.930, 0.263s quicker than Bottas.

Ricciardo has been out for a second installation lap and returned to the pits.

Button goes third (44.078), ahead of Massa, Vergne and Gutierrez as Hamilton leaves the pits.

A 42.531 sees Button go top but moments later a 41.923 sees Alonso reclaim the position. Vergne goes third (42.782), ahead of Bottas and Gutierrez.

As Magnussen goes second (42.053), Grosjean's misery follows him from Melbourne, the Frenchman's Lotus grinding to a halt in T9. Elsewhere, Hamilton locks up and runs wide in T1.

Rosberg goes third (42.089) and teammate Hamilton fifth (42.665) as Grosjean, having helped push his car to safety, hitches a ride back to the pits.

After half-an-hour, Kvyat, Perez, Maldonado, Grosjean, Ricciardo and Vettel have yet to post times.

Sutil spins at the final corner, though the replay suggests he was actually heading in to the pits but carrying to much speed.

After a brief period of total inactivity, Kvyat fires up the Renault power unit in his Toro Rosso and gets things going again.

"The straights, which are over 1km each, will provide plenty of opportunity for the MGU-H to be recharged," says Renault. "The tight corners such as the hairpin, the 1st corner complex and the third sector will allow the MGU-K to recover energy under braking."

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