April 19th, 2013 (F1Plus / Chris Cameron-Dow) - Felipe Massa has continued his strong start to 2013 by setting the fastest time in first practice for this Sunday's Bahrain Grand Prix. Fernando Alonso set a time just 7 hundredths of a second slower than Massa and was followed in third by the Mercedes of Nico Rosberg and reigning World Champion Sebastian Vettel in fourth.
Conditions for FP1 were typical of Bahrain - air temperature of 33 degrees Celcius and track temperature of 44 degrees. The track in Sakhir is normally quite dusty early in the weekend, but the organisers seem to have done quite a good job of cleaning the track surface before the action started. The cars could be seen kicking up dust only when running over the kerbs or off onto the run-off areas.
First Practice saw the return of Heikki Kovalainen to the Caterham team as a development driver. Kovalainen left the team at the end of 2012 but has returned to assist the team and drivers in their attempts to better understand the performance of the 2013 car. He took over Giedo van der Garde's car for this weekend's FP1 session and set the 20th fastest time, six tenths behind Charles Pic in the other Caterham.
The other driver to get a run in FP1 was Rodolfo Gonzalez, who took over Jules Bianchi's Marussia for the session. He finished the session 22nd and last, eight tenths slower than Max Chilton in the other Marussia.
Full results from the session:
|4||1||Sebastian Vettel||Red Bull||1:34.790||0.303||20|
|5||14||Paul di Resta||Force India||1:34.949||0.462||17|
|7||2||Mark Webber||Red Bull||1:35.101||0.614||19|
|8||15||Adrian Sutil||Force India||1:35.119||0.632||19|