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Friday analysis - rapid relief for Red Bull 14 Mar 2014

Lewis Hamilton (GBR) Mercedes AMG F1 W05 takes a trip through the gravel.
Formula One World Championship, Rd1, Australian Grand Prix, Practice, Albert Park, Melbourne, Australia, Friday, 14 March 2014 Lewis Hamilton (GBR) Mercedes AMG F1 W05.
Formula One World Championship, Rd1, Australian Grand Prix, Practice, Albert Park, Melbourne, Australia, Friday, 14 March 2014 Kimi Raikkonen (FIN) Ferrari F14 T.
Formula One World Championship, Rd1, Australian Grand Prix, Practice, Albert Park, Melbourne, Australia, Friday, 14 March 2014 Sebastian Vettel (GER) Red Bull Racing RB10.
Formula One World Championship, Rd1, Australian Grand Prix, Practice, Albert Park, Melbourne, Australia, Friday, 14 March 2014 Jenson Button (GBR) McLaren MP4-29.
Formula One World Championship, Rd1, Australian Grand Prix, Practice, Albert Park, Melbourne, Australia, Friday, 14 March 2014 Felipe Massa (BRA) Williams FW36.
Formula One World Championship, Rd1, Australian Grand Prix, Practice, Albert Park, Melbourne, Australia, Friday, 14 March 2014 Sergio Perez (MEX) Force India VJM07.
Formula One World Championship, Rd1, Australian Grand Prix, Practice, Albert Park, Melbourne, Australia, Friday, 14 March 2014 Daniil Kvyat (RUS) Scuderia Toro Rosso STR8 runs wide at turn 1 during the first practice session.
Formula One World Championship, Rd1, Australian Grand Prix, Practice, Albert Park, Melbourne, Australia, Friday, 14 March 2014 Esteban Gutierrez (MEX) Sauber C33.
Formula One World Championship, Rd1, Australian Grand Prix, Practice, Albert Park, Melbourne, Australia, Friday, 14 March 2014 Max Chilton (GBR) Marussia F1 Team MR03.
Formula One World Championship, Rd1, Australian Grand Prix, Practice, Albert Park, Melbourne, Australia, Friday, 14 March 2014 The car of Romain Grosjean (FRA) Lotus E22 is recovered on a truck.
Formula One World Championship, Rd1, Australian Grand Prix, Practice, Albert Park, Melbourne, Australia, Friday, 14 March 2014 Marcus Ericsson (SWE) Caterham CT05.
Formula One World Championship, Rd1, Australian Grand Prix, Practice, Albert Park, Melbourne, Australia, Friday, 14 March 2014

The first two free practice sessions of the season were run in consistent conditions on a dry track and temperatures which ranged between 35 and 39 degrees Celsius. They were notable for the generally high reliability in the majority of the cars, and enabled most of the teams to sample Pirelli’s hard and medium rubber and to do some useful race running…

Mercedes
Lewis Hamilton, No time/1m 29.625s, P1
Nico Rosberg, 1m 32.604s, P6/1m 29.782s, P2

Mercedes’ day could scarcely have got off to a worse start when Hamilton’s F1 W05 ground to a halt after only 12 minutes when a sensor calibration problem shut things down as a precaution. But by the second session he leapt up to the top of the timesheet ahead of team mate Rosberg.

Ferrari
Fernando Alonso, 1m 31.840s, P1/1m 30.132s, P3
Kimi Raikkonen, 1m 32.977s, P9/1m 30.898s, P7

While Alonso had a relatively untroubled day and was fastest in FP1 and third in FP2, Raikkonen had a tougher time with undisclosed problems that hampered his running.

Red Bull
Sebastian Vettel, 1m 32.793s, P7/1m 30.381s, P4
Daniel Ricciardo, 1m 32.599s, P5/1m 30.538s, P6

The manner in which Ricciardo and Vettel were quickly down to competitive times whenever they ran hard, and each achieved good race runs, bodes well for Red Bull and is a strong indication of the progress they have made since the troubles in testing. Vettel said the upturn in fortune was “a relief.”

McLaren
Jenson Button, 1m 32.357s, P2/1m 30.510s, P5
Kevin Magnussen, 1m 32.847s, P8/1m 31.031s, P9

Button had said on Thursday that he expected that both Mercedes and Williams could be challenged, and had an encouraging day with second and fifth fastest times. He focused primarily on monitoring tyre degradation and the amount of fuel-saving required around the track. Magnussen did a respectable job on his first day in an F1 car at an official race meeting, with eighth and ninth.

Williams
Valtteri Bottas, 1m 32.403s, P3/1m 30.920s, P8
Felipe Massa, 1m 32.431, P4/1m 31.119s, P12

Williams looked strong in FP1, less so after FP2. Massa lost running time in the former with radio software problems, but couldn’t match team mate Bottas’ pace in the latter. Both drivers said they’d had positive and productive days, and expect to go quicker tomorrow.

Force India
Nico Hulkenberg, 1m 33.533s, P11/1m 31.054s, P10
Sergio Perez, 1m 33.855s, P12/1m 31.283s, P13

Perez spun in FP1, while Hulkenberg put his left rear wheel on the grass entering T10 at the end of FP2, and spun into the gravel. The German was relaxed and said his car’s balance needed a little work, while the Mexican said things had gone well.

Toro Rosso
Jean-Eric Vergne, 1m 33.446s, P10/1m 31.060s, P11
Daniil Kvyat, 1m 34.272s, P13/1m 32.495s, P16

Both drivers had some offs as they pushed hard, but said that they had experienced solid, productive days.

Sauber
Adrian Sutil, 1m 36.445s, P15/1m 32.355s, P14
Esteban Gutierrez, 1m 35.578s, P14/1m 32.468s, P15

Sutil glumly reported that several things were wrong with his car, without saying what they were, while Gutierrez had a gearbox problem that lost him time in FP1. Later, in FP2, he had a bit of a dust up with Vettel going through Turns 1 and 2 in FP2, and ran off the track briefly.

Marussia
Jules Bianchi, 1m 40.859, P16/1m 33.486s, P17
Max Chilton, 1m 46.922, P17/1m 34.757s, P19

Marussia showed signs of promise as Bianchi chased the midfield once software problems had been eradicated on both cars in the morning

Lotus
Romain Grosjean, No time/1m 33.646s, P18
Pastor Maldonado, No time/No time

Lotus had a torrid time. Grosjean’s E22 had a gearbox fluid leak in FP1, when Maldonado’s car was stricken by an electrical problem. The Venezuelan went off the road on his sole timed lap and pitted immediately. Later, as Grosjean finally got some laps in before crashing in Turn 6 and damaging his rear suspension, Maldonado failed to run as his car’s wiring loom had to be changed.

Caterham
Kamui Kobayashi, No time/No time
Marcus Ericsson, No time/No time

Caterham’s day was disastrous, with neither CT05 setting a lap time. Kobayashi had a fuel system problem in FP1 which caused a brief fire and necessitated removal of the powertrain. That lost him both sessions. Ericsson had an electrical problem in FP1, and a hydraulic leak in FP2.

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