Nico Rosberg ended the opening day of the weekend second fastest after a strong day for the German. Rosberg vaulted to the top of the timesheets midway through the afternoon session by disposing Daniel Ricciardo of the top spot after the Australian was one of the first drivers to use the option tyres.
While Rosberg was eventually beaten by his teammate, Lewis Hamilton, in the session the dominance exhibited by Mercedes during winter testing carried forward to today with Hamilton and Rosberg over half a second ahead of Fernando Alonso.
“It was so great to be back in the car today and I’m very pleased with the progress that we made,” said Rosberg. “As always on a Friday, we don’t really know where we are in terms of pace yet and how much fuel everyone else was running in comparison to our programme.
“It’s definitely going to be very tough on fuel here, as we expected. The screen on my steering wheel shows the fuel target for each lap and we’re going to have to be very disciplined in the race. It’s a pretty good start for us overall and I’m looking forward to the rest of the weekend.”