By Steve Aibel, Senior F1 Writer
Nico Rosberg led the first practice session for the Russian Grand Prix in Sochi, Russia. Rosberg bested teammate Lewis Hamilton by .722 seconds during the session in which both drivers swapped the lead throughout the 90 minutes session.
Mercedes used 2 engine tokens to further the development of their fuel system and have 11 tokens left for further engine development.
Sebastian Vettel and Kimi Raikkonen followed the 2 Mercedes in the timesheets. Ferrari introduced new ICE components, using 3 engine tokens. They also brought a new front wing in an effort to decrease the advantage of the leading Mercedes team.
Red Bull Racing made the most headlines, running 1 installation lap with the aeroscreen cockpit protection system on the car of Daniel Ricciardo. The dramatic system is one of two we have seen so far intended to protect open wheel drivers from debris and parts flying loose on the track.
Red Bull also released video footage of the aeroscreen deflecting ballistics and entire wheel assemblies during tests to evaluate the effectiveness of this protection system.
— Red Bull Racing (@redbullracing) April 29, 2016
The two Red Bull drivers, Ricciardo and Russian Daniil Kvyat placed 6th and 8th in the session.
The aersoscreen is the second protection system shown, the first being the Halo system introduced by Ferrari.
Felipe Massa, of Williams, was just off the pace of the Ferrari pair showing strong speed for one of the first times this season. Teammate Valtteri Bottas slotted in 7th during the opening practice session. With the low degradation of the Sochi circuit, Williams may be a larger factor in this round of the championship.
Russian Sergey Sirotkin, for Renault, was given a Free Practice 1 opportunity at his home track and out paced teammate Jolyon Palmer.
Free Practice 1 Results
|6||Daniel Ricciardo||Red Bull||1:39.650|
|8||Daniil Kvyat||Red Bull||1:40.218|
|9||Sergio Perez||Force India||1:40.287|
|10||Carlos Sainz||Toro Rosso||1:40.654|
|15||Max Verstappen||Toro Rosso||1:41.134|
|22||Alfonso Celis||Force India||1:43.432|
Image: Red Bull Content Pool