Rosberg heads Hamilton as Mercedes dominates FP1

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Nico Rosberg was 0.2s quicker than Lewis Hamilton as Mercedes dominated the opening practice session at the Italian Grand Prix.

On a circuit which is all about power unit performance and low drag, Mercedes was over a second clear of the rest of the field on comparable tyres. While Rosberg and Hamilton had gone comfortably quickest on the supersoft tyre, both drivers improved later in the session on the softs to lead Kimi Raikkonen by 1.088s.

Rosberg and Hamilton both had off-track moments - like many drivers - as they worked to find braking points for the chicanes, with Rosberg missing the Turn 2 apex while Hamilton went wide at the Della Roggia chicane.

Ferrari introduced a power unit upgrade at Monza which cost it its remaining three development tokens and duly ended the opening session in third and fourth positions. Raikkonen had the better of team-mate Sebastian Vettel to the tune of a quarter of a second, though neither driver ran the supersoft tyre.

One piece of encouragement for Mercedes' rivals is the improvement on soft tyres for the championship leaders suggests the team is still struggling slightly with its supersoft tyre performance. In Spa-Francorchamps, Mercedes was unable to find as much time when fitting the supersofts compared to the likes of Red Bull and Ferrari, leading to a close fight for pole position.

Behind the Ferraris, Sergio Perez was fifth quickest for Force India, while Romain Grosjean was a surprise sixth for Haas. Both drivers used the supersoft tyre to set their best times - over 1.6s slower than Rosberg - and finished the session ahead of Valtteri Bottas, Max Verstappen, Esteban Gutierrez and Daniel Ricciardo.

Jenson Button was 11th quickest ahead of Force India development driver Alfonso Celis Jr in 12th. Celis was more competitive than on his recent outings, finishing the session 0.7s slower than Perez.

Fernando Alonso was 13th quickest but his best time came on the prototype Pirelli soft tyre - which most drivers liken to the medium in terms of grip - after a reliability concern saw him limp back to the pits in the second half of the session.

The two Manor drivers struggled at times on a circuit where the team hopes to be competitive, with both skipping the first chicane. Esteban Ocon finished the session the quicker of the two in 18th place, with Pascal Wehrlein 20th ahead of the two Renault drivers.

Three drivers also tested the Halo cockpit protection device again during FP1, with Button, Verstappen and Perez all completing early runs with it fitted. Button followed Rosberg's lead from Belgium by setting his first timed lap with the Halo in order to test the device at full speed.

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Pos Driver Team Time Laps
01 Nico Rosberg Mercedes 1:22.959 37
02 Lewis Hamilton Mercedes 1:23.162 36
03 Kimi Raikkonen Ferrari 1:24.047 16
04 Sebastian Vettel Ferrari 1:24.307 17
05 Sergio Perez Force India 1:24.650 32
06 Romain Grosjean Haas 1:24.763 17
07 Valtteri Bottas Williams 1:24.785 37
08 Max Verstappen Red Bull 1:24.982 25
09 Esteban Gutierrez Haas 1:25.113 19
10 Daniel Ricciardo Red Bull 1:25.120 17
11 Jenson Button McLaren 1:25.351 23
12 Alfonso Celis Force India 1:25.367 30
13 Fernando Alonso McLaren 1:25.507 14
14 Felipe Massa Williams 1:25.840 18
15 Marcus Ericsson Sauber 1:25.853 20
16 Carlos Sainz Toro Rosso 1:25.973 20
17 Daniil Kvyat Toro Rosso 1:26.074 20
18 Esteban Ocon Manor 1:26.391 30
19 Felipe Nasr Sauber 1:26.439 21
20 Pascal Wehrlein Manor 1:26.762 28
21 Jolyon Palmer Renault 1:26.811 35
22 Kevin Magnussen Renault 1:26.956 32