Red Bull Racing has once again been the pacesetting team, with Sebastian Vettel leading Mark Webber to claim the squad’s umpteenth practice 1-2 in the opening session for this weekend’s Brazilian Grand Prix.

Sebastian Vettel was fastest in the opening practice session The forecasted rain seemed to steer clear of the circuit – although it looks likely to hit the Sao Paulo venue tomorrow – and it was some 45 minutes into the session before the front-runners ventured on-track for some meaningful running. Once the pecking order was set, it was again the Red Bull pairing that led the way.

Vettel, Webber and Lewis Hamilton were the only drivers to post times under the 1m13s barrier, although the German was almost half a second clear of the next-best-placed Webber.

Hamilton’s McLaren team-mate Jenson Button continued to pursue a host of set-up configurations in his desperate bid to stay in the championship hunt, and the defending World Champion was fourth-quickest overall.

Fifth-quickest was the perpetually-impressive Robert Kubica, with Nico Rosberg fractionally slower in his Mercedes GP.

Singer Pharrell Williams was an interested spectator in the paddock Rubens Barrichello and Michael Schumacher – who was early pacesetters in the session, wound up seventh- and eighth-fastest, just over a second slower than Vettel’s quickest lap.

Behind ninth-quickest Adrian Sutil in the Force India, the Sauber pairing of Nick Heidfeld and Kamui Kobayashi completed the top eleven spots, although the Japanese driver blotted his copybook with a spin into the wall on his final hot lap.

Two notable absentees from the pointy end of the timesheets were both Ferraris, with Fernando Alonso and Felipe Massa posting fastest laps close to two seconds off the pace, as the Italian team continues the tradition of running high fuel loads in the opening practice sessions of the last few Grands Prix. Massa reported issued with a lack of front-end grip for much of the session.

Worryingly for Alonso, the Spaniard parked his car on the side of the circuit in the session’s closing minutes with a suspected engine problem, although the team offered assurances that it had intended to change his engine before the afternoon’s second practice session got underway.

Vitaly Petrov was left sitting in fifteenth on the timing screens, and added to the It's a car in the barriers, it can only be Petrovsubstantial repair bill he has rung up for the Renault squad by ending his practice session in the wall at the Ferradura right-hander.

The three rookie outfits occupied the last six spots of the timing pages as expected, but should be pleased to be closer to the pace of the front-running outfits. Just over three seconds adrift of Vettel, Jarno Trulli was quickest of the sextet, a quarter of a second quicker than the Virgin of Timo Glock, with Heikki Kovalainen and Jérôme D’Ambrosio following suit.

Christian Klien outpaced Bruno Senna – who is sporting a new helmet livery this weekend – by half a second on his return to the HRT cockpit.


2010 Brazilian GP Practice 1 Session Times:

  Driver   Team Time Laps
1. Sebastian Vettel DEU Red Bull Renault 1:12.328 23
2. Mark Webber AUS Red Bull Renault + 0.482 27
3. Lewis Hamilton GBR McLaren Mercedes + 0.517 24
4. Jenson Button GBR McLaren Mercedes + 0.939 23
5. Robert Kubica POL Renault + 1.042 23
6. Nico Rosberg DEU Mercedes GP + 1.188 25
7. Rubens Barrichello BRA Williams Cosworth + 1.218 25
8. Michael Schumacher DEU Mercedes GP + 1.315 24
9. Adrian Sutil DEU Force India Mercedes + 1.590 25
10. Nick Heidfeld DEU Sauber Ferrari + 1.672 22
11. Kamui Kobayashi JPN Sauber Ferrari + 1.676 23
12. Nico Hülkenberg DEU Williams Cosworth + 1.827 28
13. Fernando Alonso ESP Ferrari + 1.918 20
14. Felipe Massa BRA Ferrari + 1.939 25
15. Vitaly Petrov RUS Renault + 2.042 23
16. Vitantonio Liuzzi ITA Force India Mercedes + 2.159 25
17. Jaime Alguersuari ESP Toro Rosso Ferrari + 2.290 29
18. Sébastien Buemi SUI Toro Rosso Ferrari + 2.406 28
19. Jarno Trulli ITA Lotus Cosworth + 3.275 24
20. Timo Glock DEU Virgin Racing Cosworth + 3.532 20
21. Heikki Kovalainen FIN Lotus Cosworth + 3.729 25
22. Jérôme D’Ambrosio BEL Virgin Racing Cosworth + 4.379 27
23. Christian Klien AUT HRT Cosworth + 4.511 18
24. Bruno Senna BRA HRT Cosworth + 5.032 29

[Original images via LAT]

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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.