A late rush for slick tyres created an unusual final order at the end of the opening practice session for the Singapore Grand Prix, with Mark Webber narrowly emerging on top of the timesheets at the end of a largely damp session.

FP1 - Mark Webber The championship leader robbed Michael Schumacher of the bragging rights in topping a practice session for the first time in his comeback season, with the Australian hustling his Red Bull around the Marina Bay circuit just 0.119 seconds quicker than the seven-time World Champion’s Mercedes GP.

Wet-weather specialist Adrian Sutil was predictably at the pointy end of the timesheets with the third-quickest lap time, three-tenths quicker than the other Red Bull of Sebastian Vettel.

The order took a more unusual appearance, with Jaime Alguersuari winding up fifth-quickest in the Toro Rosso and Jenson Button’s McLaren. It was a good session for Toro Rosso and Force India, who had both cars inside the top-eight: Vitantonio Liuzzi finished seventh-quickest, and Sébastien Buemi wound up eighth-fastest.

With this being the first session in the event’s history held in wet conditions, one key lesson learned by the entire grid was how long the track took to dry under floodlights. Despite it not having rained for over an hour before the session began, the racing line was only dry enough for slick tyres in the final fifteen minutes of the session.

The actual pacesetters in the damper conditions were none other than Kamui Kobayashi and Timo Glock, with the German taking pride of place as the quickest runner for a full 13 minutes’ running.

But such was the flurry for dry-weather tyres in the closing minutes that the likes of Nick Heidfeld (13th) and even Lewis Hamilton (18th) had sat comfortably at the sharp end of the timing screens in the closing minutes, only to fall down the order as other runners posted better lap times as the track surface continued to dry.

Aside from Heidfeld, the session saw some other new(ish) names appearing on the timing screens, in the form of Jerome d’Ambrosio, Christian Klien and Fairuz Fauzy.

Of the three, d’Ambrosio proved the quickest, finishing just 0.2 seconds slower than Glock in the sister Virgin racer, while Klien – making his race return this weekend – and Fauzy propped up the bottom of the timesheets.

It was a largely incident-free session, despite the odd bounce over the chicane kerbing or slide into the run-off area.


2010 Singapore GP Practice 1 Session Times:

  Driver   Team Time Laps
1. Mark Webber AU Red Bull Renault 1:54.589 10
2. Michael Schumacher DEU Mercedes GP + 0.119 24
3. Adrian Sutil DEU Force India Mercedes + 0.238 15
4. Sebastian Vettel DEU Red Bull Renault + 0.548 12
5. Jaime Alguersuari ESP Toro Rosso Ferrari + 0.571 20
6. Jenson Button GBR McLaren Mercedes + 0.744 12
7. Vitantonio Liuzzi ITA_thumb2[1] Force India Mercedes + 0.921 15
8. Sébastien Buemi SUI Toro Rosso Ferrari + 0.934 15
9. Robert Kubica POL Renault + 1.083 11
10. Vitaly Petrov RUS Renault + 1.325 20
11. Fernando Alonso ESP Ferrari + 1.501 12
12. Kamui Kobayashi JPN Sauber Ferrari + 1.750 22
13. Nick Heidfeld DEU Sauber Ferrari + 1.869 18
14. Nico Rosberg DEU Mercedes GP + 2.009 8
15. Heikki Kovalainen FIN_thumb[2] Lotus Cosworth + 2.014 12
16. Rubens Barrichello BRA Williams Cosworth + 2.026 17
17. Nico Hülkenberg DEU Williams Cosworth + 2.251 14
18. Lewis Hamilton GBR McLaren Mercedes + 2.295 9
19. Felipe Massa BRA Ferrari + 3.171 22
20. Timo Glock DEU Virgin Racing Cosworth + 4.445 19
21. Jerome d’Ambrosio BEL Virgin Racing Cosworth + 4.686 16
22. Bruno Senna BRA HRT Cosworth + 5.194 23
23. Christian Klien AUT HRT Cosworth + 8.835 17
24. Fairuz Fauzy MAS Lotus Cosworth + 11.105 11

[Original image via Sutton Images]

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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.