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Rosberg heads Mercedes 1-2 in opening session

NEWS STORY
12/04/2013

Ahead of today's opening practice session the air temperature is 19 degrees C, while the track temperature is 26 degrees. Unusually here, it is bright and sunny with none of the usual smog..

Tyre options this weekend are Medium (prime) and Soft (option). There is one DRS zones, on the long back straight leading to T14.

Other than the on-going situation at Red Bull, where Sebastian Vettel is defiant in terms of what happened in Malaysia, interest yesterday centred on Lewis Hamilton who was laid low by an allergy. We are happy to report that today he is feeling much better and will be in action.

For the first time this year we have a test/reserve driver in action, Ma Qing Hua tasking over Charles Pic's car for this session.

The lights go green and Ricciardo leads the way, followed by Ma, Vergne, Bianchi, Gutierrez, Grosjean and di Resta. Within a couple of minutes everyone bar Hamilton has been out for an installation lap.

Earlier this week Jonathan Neale said that his drivers would be "very busy" today. Well, as Hamilton finally heads down the pitlane, the pattern appears to be following previous FP1s this year… with precious little happening.

Fifteen minutes into the session Vergne is the first driver out for a second run, the Italian team hoping that the overheating exhaust problem, which has particularly affected Ricciardo, has been resolved. That said, mechanics are working furiously at the back of the Australian's car.

As Hulkenberg heads down the pitlane the cameras pick up Hamilton who is sitting at the back of his garage wearing his helmet. His body language suggests he is still not feeling 100%.

At twenty-eight minutes Hamilton is back on track along with Ma and Gutierrez.

Gutierrez posts the first time of the weekend, the Sauber driver crossing the line at 1:43.097. Elsewhere, Button heads down the pitlane.

Button posts 41.798 as McLaren's "busy day" finally gets underway. Moments later Gutierrez posts 41.319.

Talking of a "busy day" at McLaren, Gary Paffett tweets that (at 3.30 am) he has just arrived at the MTC in Woking for some "support work in the simulator".

As more drivers take to the track, Ma goes fourth, behind Bottas (47.432) with a 48.800.

Hoping to have put its wheelnut issue behind it, Force India's Di Resta goes quickest, the Scot crossing the line at 40.555. Maldonado subsequently eclipses the Scot, as do Bottas and Button (38.262).

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