Sebastian Vettel has set the early pace by topping the timesheets at the end of the opening practice session for this weekend’s British Grand Prix.

The German clocked his Red Bull around the new Silverstone layout some three-tenths quicker than Lewis Hamilton, with Robert Kubica and Mark Webber fractionally behind Vettel went quickest in the opening practice sessionin third and fourth respectively.

Most of the drivers’ time was spent trying to get a firm understanding of the heavily revamped circuit layout in addition to honing the set-ups of their cars. A bump on the new Abbey right-hander seemed to cause headaches for some, while others found the new circuit loop to be particularly slippery.

The Abbey bump created a challenge for many drivers, who experimented with different set-up settings, racing lines and gearshift changes to try and bring about more stability to their nervous cars as they entered the fast right-hand bend. Out of the field, Lewis Hamilton, Michael Schumacher, Paul di Resta, Timo Glock and Karun Chandhok experienced the most difficulty.

The Village corner’s lack of grip also caught out a few challengers, with Michael Schumacher earning the ignominious honour of being the first driver to swap ends, losing the back end of his Mercedes GP under braking and spinning to the outside of the track – only to make the same error two laps later!

As the drivers try to dial themselves in to the new layout, it perhaps might be unwise to read too much into the session times, particularly if you’re a Ferrari fan, as the scarlet cars were buried in the timesheets.

Of the occasional Friday drivers, Paul di Resta was quickest in 14th place, less than a tenth shy of Fernando Alonso.

Fairuz Fauzy made his first Grand Prix appearance for Lotus since the Malaysian Grand Prix, and wound up 23rd quickest after losing an hour’s running with an engine failure.

Sakon Yamamoto – announced as the replacement for Bruno Senna this weekend in the HRT cockpit – was slowest of all in the 90-minute session.


2010 British GP Practice 1 Session Times:

  Driver   Team Time Laps
1. Sebastian Vettel DEU Red Bull Renault 1:32.280 22
2. Lewis Hamilton GBR McLaren Mercedes + 0.334 16
3. Robert Kubica POL Renault + 0.445 21
4. Mark Webber AU Red Bull Renault + 0.467 23
5. Adrian Sutil DEU Force India Mercedes + 0.688 18
6. Nico Rosberg DEU Mercedes GP + 1.038 21
7. Nico Hülkenberg DEU Williams Cosworth + 1.097 19
8. Jenson Button GBR McLaren Mercedes + 1.239 20
9. Michael Schumacher DEU Mercedes GP + 1.675 18
10. Rubens Barrichello BRA Williams Cosworth + 1.736 17
11. Sébastien Buemi SUI Toro Rosso Ferrari + 1.852 21
12. Vitaly Petrov RUS Renault + 2.085 22
13. Fernando Alonso ESP Ferrari + 2.210 20
14. Paul di Resta GBR Force India Mercedes + 2.300 22
15. Kamui Kobayashi JPN Sauber Ferrari + 2.430 16
16. Pedro de la Rosa ESP Sauber Ferrari + 2.621 17
17. Felipe Massa BRA Ferrari + 2.757 21
18. Jaime Alguersuari ESP Toro Rosso Ferrari + 3.038 27
19. Heikki Kovalainen Lotus Cosworth + 4.467 16
20. Timo Glock DEU Virgin Racing Cosworth + 5.050 11
21. Lucas di Grassi BRA Virgin Racing Cosworth + 5.238 15
22. Karun Chandhok IND_thumb[1] HRT Cosworth + 6.455 21
23. Fairuz Fauzy MAS_thumb[1] Lotus Cosworth + 7.230 11
24. Sakon Yamamoto JPN HRT Cosworth + 7.393 27

[Original image via GP Update]

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Richard Bailey

Founder & Chief Editor at MotorsportM8
Hasn't missed a Grand Prix since 1989. Has a soft spot for Minardi. Tattooed with 35+ Grand Prix circuits.