F1: Button quickest on Thursday morning

F1: Button quickest on Thursday morning

Formula 1

F1: Button quickest on Thursday morning

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Jenson Button topped the times for McLaren on a morning when Red Bull and Renault’s Formula 1 2014 preparations hit further strife.

After reigning champion Sebastian Vettel completed just 11 laps across two days in the new RB10, the team’s new recruit Daniel Ricciardo did not emerge for almost three hours on Thursday and then broke down seven corners into his first lap.

There was at least some respite in the fact he reappeared in the final minutes of the morning, completing a brief two-lap stint. That still left the team trailing its major rivals, as Ferrari, McLaren and Mercedes all neared half-centuries in the lap chart.

Of the trio, Ferrari’s morning was the most interrupted. Fernando Alonso — taking over from returnee Kimi Raikkonen for days two and three — caused the day’s first red flag when he came to a halt just before the final chicane. The Spaniard was able to return, however, and finished the morning second on the timesheets and with 32 laps in the F14 T under his belt.

Button managed 40 in total, and set the outright pace with a 1m25.030s – just under one second slower than his day two benchmark. Mercedes, meanwhile, continued where it left off on Wednesday, as Lewis Hamilton clocked 45 laps – which included one 18-lap stint only curtailed by the Red Bull stoppage. The Briton ended the morning third overall, less than one second off his former McLaren teammate.

Elsewhere Felipe Massa and Adrian Sutil made their debuts for Williams and Sauber respectively, while Nico Hulkenberg completed the first laps of his Force India return. The trio took fourth, fifth and sixth, with Massa leading the way and Sutil just edging out Hulkenberg, who only managed six laps in total.

Jean-Eric Vergne was next up for Toro Rosso, his 22 laps a welcome lift for a team that failed to emerge for even a single run on day two.

Caterham handed duties to its third driver Robin Frijns, who completed eight laps — none of them timed- – over the morning. The team also had to twice recover the Dutchman from the pitlane entry, where the CT05 had stalled.

With Marussia still working on its 2014 challenger, which is yet to be unveiled, Ricciardo propped up the morning order.

Pos Driver             Team                  Time        Gap     Laps
 1. Jenson Button      McLaren-Mercedes      1m25.030             40
 2. Fernando Alonso    Ferrari               1m25.495s   +0.465s  32
 3. Lewis Hamilton     Mercedes              1m25.973s   +0.943s  45
 4. Felipe Massa       Williams-Mercedes     1m27.286s   +2.256s  24
 5. Adrian Sutil       Sauber-Ferrari        1m30.161s   +5.131s  28
 6. Nico Hulkenberg    Force India-Mercedes  1m30.205s   +5.175s   6
 7. Jean-Eric Vergne   Toro Rosso-Renault    1m45.525s  +20.495s  22
 8. Robin Frijns       Caterham-Renault      No time           -   8
 9. Daniel Ricciardo   Red Bull-Renault      No time           -   3

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