The session saw Mercedes confirm that both silver cars have new power units. While Rosberg took his fourth of every element, Hamilton was on his fourth ICE, his fourth MGU-K, his sixth MGU-H and his sixth turbocharger, and is hence set for a 15-place grid penalty. Sauber’s Marcus Ericsson is also facing a 10-place grid drop for a sixth turbocharger.
During the 90 minutes Pirelli tested some unmarked prototype tyres modified to even further protect against possible consequences generated by accidental multiple impacts on kerbs or other external bodies. Last year’s race was notable for significantly more incidences of debris damage to tyres than usual. All teams have two sets per driver available for FP1 and FP2, and all data will be shared with Pirelli.
Rosberg was one of several drivers to try the Halo cockpit protection system for a brief period, and also the unmarked Pirellis, before setting his best time of 1m 48.348s on the red-striped supersoft compound. Hamilton sat out the first half hour and was second on 1m 49.078s. Raikkonen and Vettel chased him on the softs with 1m 49.147s and 1m 49.768s, but were split later on by Perez’s soft-tyred Force India on 1m 49.274s.
It was a difficult morning for McLaren. Jenson Button was only 18th on 1m 52.407s after complaining about oscillations in his gearbox in the four upper gears, and Fernando Alonso did only three laps before his upgraded engine had to be removed after a component developed a water leak.
Esteban Ocon impressed on his official debut with Manor, lapping in 1m 51.787s for 16th fastest time. Team mate Pascal Wehrlein was 19th on 1m 52.837s, set on the prototype tyres.