Practice at the Brazilian Grand Prix saw another 1-2 on the timesheets, although for once it wasn’t the usual suspects of Sebastian Vettel and Mark Webber claiming the honours for Red Bull Racing.
Instead, it was the Mercedes pairing of Nico Rosberg and Lewis Hamilton who topped the timesheets in a session disrupted by a continuous drizzle of rain.
Vettel was still up there, rounding out the top three some six-tenths of a second off Rosberg, while his teammate Mark Webber was further down in sixth place, a second off the German’s pace.
Pirelli had brought along two sets of its prototype 2014-spec medium compound tyres for the teams to test in Friday practice, but the conditions meant that running was extremely limited. Vettel was the first driver to test the new rubber on the damp track, but he only managed two laps out before the rain grew heavier.
The teams’ focus throughout FP1 was to learn as much as they can from the wet Interlagos track, as rain threatens the whole weekend, which probably comes as a relief from most F1 fans hoping for a little variety in the results.
Having a wet session meant that it was important to get drivers on track and see what times were being posted on the intermediate tyres. This, however, wasn’t the case for James Calado, who was sitting in for Paul di Resta. at Force India.
The team decided to be cautious and give the young Brit limited running, as they didn’t want to risk any damage to di Resta’s car. The Scot needs to deliver an impressive performance, as it could be his last outing for the team, or possibly in Formula One altogether.
Toro Rosso sign-up Daniil Kvyat was another young driver participating in FP1, this time at the expense of Daniel Ricciardo. His much talked about pace was proven during the session as he put the Ferrari-powered STR8 in eighth position, six places ahead of his 2014 teammate Jean-Éric Vergne.
At the rear of the field it was business as usual, with Williams, Caterham and Marussia claiming the final six spots on the timesheets. Valtteri Bottas finished ahead of Pastor Maldonado; the Caterhams were evenly matched with Giedo van der Garde just edging out Charles Pic by under a tenth of a second; and Jules Bianchi once again trounced Marussia reserve driver Rodolfo González by 2.6 seconds – the Venezuelan was sitting in for Max Chilton.
2013 Brazilian Formula 1 Grand Prix – Free Practice 1 Session Times:
|1.||Nico Rosberg||Mercedes AMG Petronas F1W04||1:24.781||14|
|2.||Lewis Hamilton||Mercedes AMG Petronas F1W04||1:25.230||+ 0.449||13|
|3.||Sebastian Vettel||Red Bull Racing Renault RB9||1:25.387||+ 0.606||17|
|4.||Jenson Button||McLaren Mercedes MP4-28||1:25.391||+ 0.610||25|
|5.||Fernando Alonso||Scuderia Ferrari F138||1:25.593||+ 0.812||13|
|6.||Mark Webber||Red Bull Racing Renault RB9||1:25.797||+ 1.016||17|
|7.||Sergio Pérez||McLaren Mercedes MP4-28||1:25.946||+ 1.165||15|
|8.||Daniil Kvyat||Scuderia Toro Rosso Ferrari STR8||1:26.064||+ 1.283||17|
|9.||Heikki Kovalainen||Lotus F1 Renault E21||1:26.133||+ 1.352||31|
|10.||Nico Hülkenberg||Sauber Ferrari C32||1:26.232||+ 1.451||17|
|11.||Felipe Massa||Scuderia Ferrari F138||1:26.248||+ 1.467||15|
|12.||Esteban Gutiérrez||Sauber Ferrari C32||1:26.326||+ 1.545||28|
|13.||Romain Grosjean||Lotus F1 Renault E21||1:26.570||+ 1.789||28|
|14.||Jean-Éric Vergne||Scuderia Toro Rosso Ferrari STR8||1:26.593||+ 1.812||22|
|15.||Adrian Sutil||Force India Mercedes VJM06||1:27.115||+ 2.334||25|
|16.||Valtteri Bottas||Williams Renault FW35||1:27.269||+ 2.488||23|
|17.||Pastor Maldonado||Williams Renault FW35||1:27.358||+ 2.577||23|
|18.||James Calado||Force India Mercedes VJM06||1:27.436||+ 2.655||9|
|19.||Giedo van der Garde||Caterham Renault CT03||1:28.107||+ 3.326||18|
|20.||Charles Pic||Caterham Renault CT03||1:28.199||+ 3.418||17|
|21.||Jules Bianchi||Marussia Cosworth MR02||1:30.004||+ 5.223||24|
|22.||Rodolfo González||Marussia Cosworth MR02||1:32.646||+ 7.865||19|