Formula 1 championship leader Sebastian Vettel has finished atop the timesheets at the end of the first practice session for this weekend’s Indian Grand Prix. The German beat Jenson Button and Fernando Alonso to top spot, posting a fastest lap time of 1:27.619 around the Buddh International Circuit.
This being the sport’s second visit to the venue, the opening 90-minute session was greeted with warm, hazy conditions that helped keep the forecasted ambient temperatures a little cooler. Track conditions were again dusty, and as the circuit steadily gripped up with more running, so the lap times started to drop.
Three reserve drivers were in action during the session, Heikki Kovalainen relinquished his Caterham cockpit for the team’s reserve driver, Giedo van der Garde, while Bruno Senna once again sat on the sidelines as Williams understudy Valtteri Bottas continues to stake his claim for a promotion to the team’s race line-up.
Down at Sauber, Mexican rookie Esteban Gutiérrez had his first-ever Grand Prix outing, taking over from an unwell Sergio Pérez, who was benched for the morning’s action while he continues to feel the affects of a heavy cold that has afflicted him since he arrived on the subcontinent.
At the sharp end of the timesheets, it was Vettel who managed to beat Button to top spot by over three-tenths of a second, while Fernando Alonso ended the session third-fastest in his Ferrari. Lewis Hamilton and Mark Webber completed the top-five positions on the timesheets, while the top-ten was completed by Nico Rosberg, Felipe Massa, Michael Schumacher, Daniel Ricciardo and Kimi Räikkönen, who was having his very first outing around the circuit.
2012 Indian Formula 1 Grand Prix – Free Practice 1 Session Times:
|1.||Sebastian Vettel||Red Bull Racing Renault RB8||1:27.619||22|
|2.||Jenson Button||McLaren Mercedes MP4-27||1:27.929||+ 0.310||22|
|3.||Fernando Alonso||Scuderia Ferrari F2012||1:28.044||+ 0.425||24|
|4.||Lewis Hamilton||McLaren Mercedes MP4-27||1:28.046||+ 0.427||25|
|5.||Mark Webber||Red Bull Racing Renault RB8||1:28.175||+ 0.556||22|
|6.||Nico Rosberg||Mercedes AMG F1 W03||1:28.447||+ 0.828||25|
|7.||Felipe Massa||Scuderia Ferrari F2012||1:28.542||+ 0.923||24|
|8.||Michael Schumacher||Mercedes AMG F1 W03||1:28.993||+ 1.374||23|
|9.||Daniel Ricciardo||Scuderia Toro Rosso Ferrari STR7||1:29.204||+ 1.585||24|
|10.||Kimi Räikkönen||Lotus F1 Renault E20||1:29.291||+ 1.672||24|
|11.||Valtteri Bottas||Williams Renault FW34||1:29.691||+ 2.072||26|
|12.||Paul di Resta||Force India Mercedes VJM05||1:29.760||+ 2.141||23|
|13.||Kamui Kobayashi||Sauber Ferrari C31||1:29.802||+ 2.183||18|
|14.||Nico Hülkenberg||Force India Mercedes VJM05||1:29.850||+ 2.231||19|
|15.||Romain Grosjean||Lotus F1 Renault E20||1:29.895||+ 2.276||19|
|16.||Pastor Maldonado||Williams Renault FW34||1:30.041||+ 2.422||26|
|17.||Jean-Éric Vergne||Scuderia Toro Rosso Ferrari STR7||1:30.401||+ 2.782||23|
|18.||Vitaly Petrov||Caterham Renault CT01||1:30.630||+ 3.011||24|
|19.||Giedo van der Garde||Caterham Renault CT01||1:30.896||+ 3.277||20|
|20.||Esteban Gutiérrez||Sauber Ferrari C31||1:31.212||+ 3.593||29|
|21.||Charles Pic||Marussia Racing Cosworth MR01||1:31.903||+ 4.284||22|
|22.||Narain Karthikeyan||HRTF1 Cosworth F112||1:32.125||+ 4.506||24|
|23.||Timo Glock||Marussia Racing Cosworth MR01||1:32.369||+ 4.750||19|
|24.||Pedro de la Rosa||HRTF1 Cosworth F112||1:32.859||+ 5.240||13|