Mark Webber has clocked the fastest time at the end of Friday’s first practice session for the European Formula 1 Grand Prix at Valencia.
The Australian out-paced Renault’s Vitaly Petrov and local hero Fernando Alonso by over eight-tenths of a second in the generally incident-free opening ninety-minute session.
Sunny and warm conditions greeted the drivers when the street circuit opened for business at 9AM local time, with ambient temperatures of 25°C (77°F) drawing many visitors to the nearby beach.
Three reserve drivers made an appearance in this session, with Daniel Ricciardo (Toro Rosso), Nico Hülkenberg (Force India) and Karun Chandhok (Team Lotus) filling in for Sébastien Buemi, Paul di Resta and Jarno Trulli, respectively.
For Hülkenberg and Chandhok, however it would be a short-lived outing for each. Chandhok had to call his session a day after just two installation laps when his Lotus developed a gearbox problem, while Hülkenberg had several lock-ups before he slid into a wall and bent his front suspension.
In other news, tyre supplier Pirelli made the last-minute decision to change its tyre compound allocations for the weekend, deciding to bring its super-soft and soft compounds instead of the original super-soft/medium split it had telegraphed it would do beforehand. The reason for the switch – as Pirelli later explained – was to bring about a greater variance in race strategy because both tyre compounds were more closely matched.
Several teams also sported quite noticeable upgrades for this weekend’s race, with McLaren and Ferrari sporting revised front wings, for example. Despite having a problem with his DRS during the session, Lewis Hamilton finished one spot behind Fernando Alonso on the timesheets, while Felipe Massa (sixth) and Jenson Button (seventh) weren’t too far behind.
Nick Heidfeld capped off a good session for the Renault team, clocking 24 laps en route to fifth-quickest in the session.
By contrast, runaway championship leader Sebastian Vettel had a quiet session, finishing just 16th-quickest in his Red Bull.
2011 European Grand Prix – Free Practice 1 Session Times:
|1.||Mark Webber||Red Bull Renault RB7||1:40.403||22|
|2.||Vitaly Petrov||Renault R31||+ 0.824||20|
|3.||Fernando Alonso||Ferrari F150° Italia||+ 0.836||22|
|4.||Lewis Hamilton||McLaren Mercedes MP4-26||+ 1.107||23|
|5.||Nick Heidfeld||Renault R31||+ 1.177||24|
|6.||Felipe Massa||Ferrari F150° Italia||+ 1.355||23|
|7.||Jenson Button||McLaren Mercedes MP4-26||+ 1.523||14|
|8.||Adrian Sutil||Force India Mercedes VJM04||+ 1.552||20|
|9.||Nico Rosberg||Mercedes GP W02||+ 1.640||22|
|10.||Jaime Alguersuari||Toro Rosso Ferrari STR6||+ 1.813||29|
|11.||Michael Schumacher||Mercedes GP W02||+ 1.867||26|
|12.||Daniel Ricciardo||Toro Rosso Ferrari STR6||+ 2.009||27|
|13.||Rubens Barrichello||Williams Cosworth FW33||+ 2.301||23|
|14.||Sergio Pérez||Sauber Ferrari C30||+ 2.335||20|
|15.||Pastor Maldonado||Williams Cosworth FW33||+ 2.438||28|
|16.||Sebastian Vettel||Red Bull Renault RB7||+ 2.538||21|
|17.||Kamui Kobayashi||Sauber Ferrari C30||+ 2.798||18|
|18.||Nico Hülkenberg||Force India Mercedes VJM04||+ 3.366||7|
|19.||Heikki Kovalainen||Lotus Renault T128||+ 3.733||17|
|20.||Jérôme d’Ambrosio||Virgin Racing Cosworth MVR-02||+ 4.623||17|
|21.||Timo Glock||Virgin Racing Cosworth MVR-02||+ 4.818||19|
|22.||Vitantonio Liuzzi||HRT F1 Cosworth F111||+ 5.091||24|
|23.||Narain Karthikeyan||HRT F1 Cosworth F111||+ 6.523||27|
|24.||Karun Chandhok||Lotus Renault T128||no time||2|