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Formula One: Alonso ends Mercedes run, tops opening practice

By AFPEvents - 19 September 2014 7:00 PM | Updated 10:56 PM

Formula One: Alonso ends Mercedes run, tops opening practice

Fernando Alonso ended Mercedes domination of opening practice on Friday when he topped the times for Ferrari in the first free session ahad of this weekend's Singapore Grand Prix.

It was the first time in seven races that any car other than a Mercedes had lapped quickest in the first action of the day, the Spaniard lapping one-tenth of a second quicker than both Briton Lewis Hamilton and German Nico Rosberg, who leads his Mercedes team-mate by 22 points with six races remaining.

They were second and third separated by only a wafer of time  0.027 seconds  ahead of fourth placed defending world champion German Sebastian Vettel, who pulled up his Red Bull car in the final seconds after an engine failure.

Vettel, hunting his fourth consecutive victory under floodlights on the streets of Singapore, climbed from his car and said: "Okay, I think I have an engine failure."

Red Bull team boss Christian Horner said: "It's a Friday engine, not the one he has planned to race with, but there's a lot of work to do  it's going to be tough. The biggest loss is the track time and the long run."

For Vettel, it may also mean he is forced to exceed the limit of five engines in a season, by taking a sixth Renault power unit and with it a 10-place grid penalty, though the team may choose to do that at another race.

Australian Daniel Ricciardo was fifth in the second Red Bull ahead of Frenchman Jean-Eric Vergne of Toro Rosso, Finn Kimi Raikkonen in the second Ferrari and Briton Jenson Button in the leading McLaren.

Russian Daniil Kvyat was ninth for Toro Rosso ahead of Mexican Sergio Perez of Force India, with Dane Kevin Magnussen 11th in the second McLaren.

On the first day of the modified ban on radio communications between teams and drivers, there were several amusing moments as drivers either stopped their engineers from talking or sought information that was banned.

In one, Hamilton asked his race engineer: "What sector times are other people doing? Are they doing any extra laps?"

The engineer, aware that such information is not allowed to be broadcast, replied: "Okay Lewis, we'll just continue with our programme  and discuss this when we get back in the garage."

FREE PRACTICE TIMES

1. Fernando Alonso (ESP) Scuderia Ferrari 1:49.056

2. Lewis Hamilton (GBR) Mercedes 1:49.178

3. Nico Rosberg (GER) Mercedes 1:49.205

4. Sebastian Vettel (GER) Red Bull Racing 1:49.874

5. Daniel Ricciardo (AUS) Red Bull Racing 1:50.122

6. Jean-Eric Vergne (FRA) Toro Rosso 1:50.539

7. Kimi Raikkonen (FIN) Scuderia Ferrari 1:50.783

8. Jenson Button (GBR) McLaren Mercedes 1:50.922

9. Daniil Kvyat (RUS) Toro Rosso 1:50.990

10. Sergio Perez (MEX) Force India 1:51.131

11. Kevin Magnussen (DEN) McLaren Mercedes 1:51.217

12. Nico Hulkenberg (GER) Force India 1:51.604

13. Felipe Massa (BRA) Williams 1:51.953

14. Pastor Maldonado (VEN) Lotus 1:52.125

15. Valtteri Bottas (FIN) Williams 1:52.146

16. Esteban Gutierrez (MEX) Sauber 1:52.171

17. Adrian Sutil (GER) Sauber 1:52.237

18. Romain Grosjean (FRA) Lotus 1:52.906

19. Jules Bianchi (FRA) Marussia 1:54.113

20. Marcus Ericsson (SWE) Caterham 1:54.475

21. Kamui Kobayashi (JPN) Caterham 1:54.607

22. Max Chilton (GBR) Marussia 1:55.170

2014 Formula 1 Singapore Airlines Singapore Grand Prix | Date: 19-21 September 2014 | Venue: Marina Bay Street Circuit | Tickets: from S$68 at www.singaporegp.sg/tickets/listings

F1 2014: Formula 1 Singapore Airlines Singapore Grand Prix

F1 2014: Formula 1 Singapore Airlines Singapore Grand Prix

Date Sep 19, 2014 - Sep 21, 2014

VenueMarina Bay Street Circuit

Ticket PriceS$68.00 - S$1,288.00
 (excludes booking fee)