Friday, October 26, 2012

Practice One: Vettel tops the timesheets

Sebastian Vettel laid down his marker as the Championship leader set the pace in Friday's first practice in India, 0.3s ahead of Jenson Button

The session got off to a slow start on the dusty track with not a single lap time set in the opening 30 minutes. The deadlock was finally broken when Esteban Gutierrez, who was filling in for the unwell Sergio Perez, crossed the line with a 1:46.071.
The Mexican driver's run signalled the beginning of free practice proper and others hit the track with Lewis Hamilton, Pastor Maldonado and Jenson Button all spending time at the top of the timesheets. The two McLaren drivers had a brief exchange for the P1 slot, swapping fastest times before Button put in three fastest sector times to take it with a 1:29.684, 2.4s clear of Hamilton's best!
But while the lap times were dropping the drivers still had to be careful on the dusty track as grip was limited despite efforts in the days building up to the grand prix to clean the track. This meant drivers were slipping and sliding with Gutierrez, Maldonado, Romain Grosjean and others all taking to the vast run-off areas surrounding the track.
Back in the action, Button's 1:29.684 ensured he was still leading at the halfway point as, while others had closed the gap, the McLaren driver still had a full second on them. Nico Rosberg was leading the chase ahead of Grosjean, Nico Hulkenberg, Paul di Resta and Valtteri Bottas.
Michael Schumacher was the one to finally overhaul Button only to lose out seconds later to Mark Webber as the Aussie crossed the line with a 1:28.963. He was soon joined by title rivals Sebastian Vettel and Fernando Alonso as they improved to second and third as the session entered the final 30 minutes.
That kicked off with a mini battle between Vettel and Alonso for second place with the duo trading positions as they hunted down Webber. Alonso was the first to edge the Aussie but his reign was short-lived as Hamilton went quickest only to be dropped by Vettel by 0.010s.
The final few minutes saw Alonso move up to second, 0.008s behind Vettel, which prompted the reigning World Champ to put down his marker, extending the gap to 0.425s. Button then climbed to second, splitting the title rivals, while Hamilton was fourth.
01 Sebastian Vettel Red Bull 1:27.619 22 laps
02 Jenson Button McLaren 1:27.929 0.310 22 laps
03 Fernando Alonso Ferrari 1:28.044 0.425 24 laps
04 Lewis Hamilton McLaren 1:28.046 0.427 25 laps
05 Mark Webber Red Bull 1:28.175 0.556 22 laps
06 Nico Rosberg Mercedes 1:28.447 0.828 25 laps
07 Felipe Massa Ferrari 1:28.542 0.923 24 laps
08 Michael Schumacher Mercedes 1:28.993 1.374 23 laps
09 Daniel Ricciardo Toro Rosso 1:29.204 1.585 24 laps
10 Kimi Raikkonen Lotus 1:29.291 1.672 24 laps
11 Valtteri Bottas Williams 1:29.691 2.072 26 laps
12 Paul di Resta Force India 1:29.760 2.141 23 laps
13 Kamui Kobayashi Sauber 1:29.802 2.183 18 laps
14 Nico Hulkenberg Force India 1:29.850 2.231 19 laps
15 Romain Grosjean Lotus 1:29.895 2.276 19 laps
16 Pastor Maldonado Williams 1:30.041 2.422 26 laps
17 Jean-Eric Vergne Toro Rosso 1:30.401 2.782 23 laps
18 Vitaly Petrov Caterham 1:30.630 3.011 24 laps
19 Giedo van der Garde Caterham 1:30.896 3.277 20 laps
20 Esteban Gutierrez Sauber 1:31.212 3.593 29 laps
21 Charles Pic Marussia 1:31.903 4.284 22 laps
22 Narain Karthikeyan HRT 1:32.125 4.506 24 laps
23 Timo Glock Marussia 1:32.369 4.750 19 laps
24 Pedro de la Rosa HRT 1:32.859 5.240 13 laps

Source: Planet-F1

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