Lewis Hamilton can rightfully claim the honour as the first man to go fastest of all in the opening practice session for this weekend’s inaugural Korean Grand Prix, held at the hurriedly-completed Yeongyam circuit.

Lewis Hamilton was fastest in the opening practice session The McLaren driver jest held off Robert Kubica for top honours, with the Renault driver just eight-hundredths of a second shy of the 2007 world Champion’s best effort. The pair was followed by Nico Rosberg, Sebastian Vettel, who all lapped within one second of Hamilton’s fastest time.

In fairness, the results from this session will not provide a great degree of insight into the form guide this weekend, with the circuit expected to grip up significantly as conditions improve with more running.

FP1 - Senna spins his HRT after is suspension fails In the early stages, the drivers were extremely cautious on the unknown track surface, with many worried about the dust and slipperiness of the asphalt. Despite their concerns, no one actually landed up binning their cars into the barriers during the session, with only Bruno Senna providing the major moment when he arrived at Turn 9 with his left-rear suspension askew, spinning to a halt.

Kamui Kobayashi had a moment on the grass at pit entry, while Sebastian Vettel nearly collected Sakon Yamamoto at the final corner.

Jaime Alguersuari was the first driver to officially post a lap time – although Heikki Kovalainen ensured Lotus’ time-honoured tradition of being the first actually on-track – but it was a leisurely 2:20.611, which would turn out to be about forty seconds off the fastest time of the session.

Incredibly, it would take a little while for that time to be beaten, as several other drivers slowly toured the circuit, and as the times came down, the likes of Sakon Yamamoto, Michael Schumacher, Sébastien Buemi, Mark Webber, Nico Hülkenberg, Vettel, Button and Rosberg all enjoyed their respective moments at the top of the timesheets.

Button then eclipsed Rosberg once again to go quickest.

A late lap from Robert Kubica moved him into second placeThat was, until Hamilton came out onto the circuit, which he only did quite late in the 90-minute session while he was having a new rear wing fitted to his car.

His best time – 1:40.887 – would prove over a second faster than his team-mate.

Robert Kubica then posted an impressive effort to just miss out on bumping Hamilton off the top spot, and late hot laps from Rosberg and Vettel bumped Button down to fifth.

Michael Schumacher stayed at the pointier end of the timesheets for much of the session, and wound up sixth-quickest, faster than the championship leader Mark Webber in the Red Bull. Sauber’s Nick Heidfeld finished eight-quickest, ahead of the Williams pair of Nico Hülkenberg and Rubens Barrichello, who completed the top-ten.

Fernando Alonso was only 15th fastest Rather mirroring their pattern in the previous rounds, the Ferraris of Felipe Massa (12th) and Fernando Alondo (15th) finished well down on the timesheets.

Languishing at the bottom of the timesheets was the perpetually unlucky Jarno Trulli, who lost precious running with a gearbox problem.


2010 Korean GP Practice 1 Session Times:

  Driver   Team Time Laps
1. Lewis Hamilton GBR McLaren Mercedes 1:40.887 15
2. Robert Kubica POL Renault + 0.081 18
3. Nico Rosberg DEU Mercedes GP + 0.265 21
4. Sebastian Vettel DEU Red Bull Renault + 0.484 18
5. Jenson Button GBR McLaren Mercedes + 1.053 16
6. Michael Schumacher DEU Mercedes GP + 1.135 25
7. Mark Webber AUS Red Bull Renault + 1.315 23
8. Nick Heidfeld DEU Sauber Ferrari + 1.406 18
9. Nico Hülkenberg DEU Williams Cosworth + 1.791 21
10. Rubens Barrichello BRA Williams Cosworth + 1.996 23
11. Vitaly Petrov RUS Renault + 2.009 22
12. Felipe Massa BRA Ferrari + 2.167 25
13. Kamui Kobayashi JPN Sauber Ferrari + 2.422 20
14. Adrian Sutil DEU Force India Mercedes + 2.715 18
15. Fernando Alonso ESP Ferrari + 3.041 21
16. Sébastien Buemi SUI Toro Rosso Ferrari + 3.053 23
17. Vitantonio Liuzzi ITA Force India Mercedes + 4.000 21
18. Jaime Alguersuari ESP Toro Rosso Ferrari + 4.254 26
19. Timo Glock DEU Virgin Racing Cosworth + 4.701 20
20. Jerome D’Ambrosio BEL Virgin Racing Cosworth + 5.726 17
21. Heikki Kovalainen FIN Lotus Cosworth + 6.228 22
22. Sakon Yamamoto JPN HRT Cosworth + 9.460 29
23. Bruno Senna BRA HRT Cosworth + 9.934 15
24. Jarno Trulli ITA Lotus Cosworth + 10.814 11

[Original images via LAT and 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.