Alonso on top in China, while Raikkonen at the bottom …

Fernando Alonso set the early pace for the Ferrari Formula 1 team in the opening practice session for this weekend’s Chinese Grand Prix.

Amid cold, overcast conditions, it was Rosberg who led the way in the early stages of the 90-minute outing, as the field began their respective weekend programmes on Pirelli’s additional set of Medium compound tyres.

Romain Grosjean racked up the most number of laps (24) in his Lotus, but the Enstone-based team struggled to make an impression on the timesheets, with team-mate Pastor Maldonado 1.7 seconds back in 16th place.

As ever the first practice session of the weekend was characterised by low grip and many drivers struggled with locking brakes. A number of teams were also trailing new parts – including Mercedes, which has arrived in China with a new front wing.

The complete results:

Pos No Driver Team Time/Retired Gap Laps
1 14 Fernando Alonso Ferrari 1:39.783 20
2 6 Nico Rosberg Mercedes 1:40.181 0.398 16
3 3 Daniel Ricciardo Red Bull Racing-Renault 1:40.772 0.989 23
4 22 Jenson Button McLaren-Mercedes 1:40.970 1.187 23
5 27 Nico Hulkenberg Force India-Mercedes 1:41.175 1.392 16
6 20 Kevin Magnussen McLaren-Mercedes 1:41.366 1.583 20
7 25 Jean-Eric Vergne STR-Renault 1:41.505 1.722 26
8 44 Lewis Hamilton Mercedes 1:41.560 1.777 9
9 1 Sebastian Vettel Red Bull Racing-Renault 1:41.629 1.846 19
10 19 Felipe Massa Williams-Mercedes 1:41.699 1.916 14
11 26 Daniil Kvyat STR-Renault 1:41.977 2.194 23
12 8 Romain Grosjean Lotus-Renault 1:42.090 2.307 24
13 40 Felipe Nasr Williams-Mercedes 1:42.265 2.482 13
14 36 Giedo van der Garde Sauber-Ferrari 1:42.615 2.832 16
15 11 Sergio Perez Force India-Mercedes 1:42.733 2.950 13
16 13 Pastor Maldonado Lotus-Renault 1:43.731 3.948 22
17 10 Kamui Kobayashi Caterham-Renault 1:44.038 4.255 16
18 21 Esteban Gutierrez Sauber-Ferrari 1:44.162 4.379 17
19 17 Jules Bianchi Marussia-Ferrari 1:44.270 4.487 7
20 4 Max Chilton Marussia-Ferrari 1:44.782 4.999 20
21 9 Marcus Ericsson Caterham-Renault 1:44.835 5.052 22
22 7 Kimi Räikkönen Ferrari 1