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Mercedes AMG Petronas driver, Nico Rosberg, is back on form in China which is the place of his maiden victory in Formula One just twelve months ago. The team felt they could be a factor in this weekend’s Chinese Grand Prix and if Free Practice One is any indication, their hunch is correct.

Rosberg topped the time sheet and bested his teammate, Lewis Hamilton, to close the FP1 session:

 1.  Nico Rosberg         Mercedes              1m36.717s            21
 2.  Lewis Hamilton       Mercedes              1m37.171s  + 0.454s  20
 3.  Mark Webber          Red Bull-Renault      1m37.658s  + 0.941s  21
 4.  Sebastian Vettel     Red Bull-Renault      1m37.942s  + 1.225s  20
 5.  Fernando Alonso      Ferrari               1m37.965s  + 1.248s  17
 6.  Jenson Button        McLaren-Mercedes      1m38.069s  + 1.352s  24
 7.  Felipe Massa         Ferrari               1m38.095s  + 1.378s  14
 8.  Adrian Sutil         Force India-Mercedes  1m38.125s  + 1.408s  21
 9.  Romain Grosjean      Lotus-Renault         1m38.398s  + 1.681s  17
10.  Paul di Resta        Force India-Mercedes  1m38.561s  + 1.844s  15
11.  Kimi Raikkonen       Lotus-Renault         1m38.790s  + 2.073s  16
12.  Jean-Eric Vergne     Toro Rosso-Ferrari    1m39.057s  + 2.340s  19
13.  Pastor Maldonado     Williams-Renault      1m39.158s  + 2.441s  22
14.  Nico Hulkenberg      Sauber-Ferrari        1m39.180s  + 2.463s  21
15.  Daniel Ricciardo     Toro Rosso-Ferrari    1m39.336s  + 2.619s  19
16.  Sergio Perez         McLaren-Mercedes      1m39.360s  + 2.643s  20
17.  Valtteri Bottas      Williams-Renault      1m39.392s  + 2.675s  20
18.  Esteban Gutierrez    Sauber-Ferrari        1m40.032s  + 3.315s  22
19.  Jules Bianchi        Marussia-Cosworth     1m41.966s  + 5.249s  16
20.  Max Chilton          Marussia-Cosworth     1m42.056s  + 5.339s  18
21.  Giedo van der Garde  Caterham-Renault      1m42.083s  + 5.366s  21
22.  Ma Qing Hua          Caterham-Renault      1m43.545s  + 6.828s  20

The practice session also saw a pit lane incident involving Lewis Hamilton's replacement at McLaren, Sergio Perez. Hamilton himself infamously had a moment in China in 2007 while driving for the team.

Jules Bianchi set the time to beat for the newer teams of F1 but was nearly 5 seconds adrift fo the front runners. All eye were on Red Bull as the sparring duo of Mark Webber and Sebastian Vettel set 3rd and 4th respectively.
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An F1 fan since 1972, NC has spent over 25 years in the technology industry and as a CTO, he focuses on technology integration in commercial workspace design, AV systems integration, digital media strategies, technology planning, consulting, speaking, presenting, sales, content strategy, marketing and brand building.
  • Something tells me it’s gonna be a great weekend filled with surprises in China! Even Force India will be quick with the midfielders getting closer than ever!

    • mjidris

      Agreed! Especially after seeing the practice 2 results. Picking drivers and teams is very difficult at this point in the season. The pecking order is still being established as drivers and their teams try to assert themselves. We’ll get a better idea of the race pace at the qualifying sessions, but so far this looks to be an exciting race.

      Will we see anything between Vettel and Webber?
      How will Rosberg and Mercedes perform here?
      After a DNF, I’m sure Alonso as high goals for this race; where will he finish?
      Massa has started the season really well, he looked strong in Practice 2, where will he end up?
      Will Bianchi dominate the back once again? (probably…)

  • Rik

    What I don’t understand and apparently no one else does yet, is why Hulkenberg switched to Sauber.. Look at where FI is today. They are making Sutil look like a great bet with their current performance. Sauber has taken a step to the rears this year so of course Perez leaving was smart but he didn’t jump any buildings with his move, at least yet. RB? They are always playing games at this point as Vettel always said practice does not yield points so things get serious Sat afternoon.