Vettel out in front
Sebastian Vettel lead the way at the end of day one in Melbourne.
His time of a 1m25.908 was quicker than team mate Mark Webber by just under two tenths of a second.
Nico Rosberg finished third, Kimi Raikkonen fourth and Romain Grosjean in the sister Lotus was fifth. Alonso’s Ferrari was sixth, whilst Lewis Hamilton ended the day seventh. Felipe Massa, Adrian Sutil and Nico Hulkenburg rounded off the top ten.
The Mclaren drivers languished in 11th and 13th after Team Principal Martin Whitmarsh admitted the car was unbalanced and difficult to understand.
The session got underway with all drivers, barring the Ferrari pair, heading to the track to continue their set up work from the earlier practice.
The Mercedes pair both made early mistakes pushing too hard and running off track at Turn One.
Giedo van der Garde’s session came to a halt on the hour mark after beaching his Caterham in the gravel. Jean Eric Vergne spun at Turn 4 with just half an hour to go.
Most of the teams switched to the softer compound tyre early on and found very little gain in time.
Sebastian Vettel went to the red striped tyre and got held up, but it wasn’t long before he set a quicker time, although he reported it was without KERS.
Lewis Hamilton tried challenging the Germans top time before locking up and going off the track at Turn 9.
With just 7 minutes remaining, the British driver put the Mercedes into the gravel trap after a mistake and lock up at Turn 7.
The day ended badly for Mercedes when Nico Rosberg pulled off the track after Turn 8 with a suspected gearbox problem with just 5 minutes left of the session.
Mark Webber ran out of rear grip in the dying minutes and spun his Red Bull after Turn 13.