Last year’s Spanish Grand Prix winner Mark Webber has kicked off the defence of his race win by going quickest in the opening practice session at the Circuit de Catalunya. Mark Webber was fastest in the opening practice session at the Spanish Grand Prix His fastest time of 1:25.142 was set early on in the 90-minute practice session, and he was never really threatened for the remainder of its duration.

The Australian eventually wound up over one second faster than Red Bull team-mate Sebastian Vettel, with Nico Rosberg and Fernando Alonso completing the top four places on the timesheets.

A small crowd headed to the Barcelona circuit for the race’s opening session, with the running held under sunny skies and ambient temperatures of 19°C (66°F).

With quite a few drivers electing to get some laps in early on, Felipe Massa posted the first timed lap after eight minutes. The Brazilian finished up well down the order in 16th place, but his time was spent evaluating a raft of new components in his Ferrari.

Some drivers had problems in this session, with Timo Glock losing plenty of time in the pits when his Virgin entry suffered an unspecified technical glitch before the end of the first half hour of running. Jarno Trulli was another driver to complete few miles, Maldonado ran out of road managing just over 10 laps before he pitted to have a change made to his power steering.

Pastor Maldonado ended his morning’s activity with a broken front wing on his Williams after a trip through the Turn 12 gravel and into the tyres, in what seems to be emerging as a pattern for the Venezuelan rookie.

At the sharper end of the timesheets, Sauber rookie Sergio Pérez finished the session fifth-fastest, ahead of Lewis Hamilton’s McLaren and Michael Schumacher’s Mercedes GP, which completed a mammoth 32 laps. Nick Heidfeld, Jenson Button and Rubens Barrichello completed the top-ten.

2011 Spanish Grand Prix – Free Practice 1 Session Times:

  Driver   Team Time Laps
1. Mark Webber AUS Red Bull Renault RB7 1:25.142 27
2. Sebastian Vettel DEU Red Bull Renault RB7 + 1.007 20
3. Nico Rosberg DEU Mercedes GP W02 + 1.237 29
4. Fernando Alonso ESP Ferrari F150° Italia + 1.338 27
5. Sergio Pérez MEX Sauber Ferrari C30 + 1.596 26
6. Lewis Hamilton GBR McLaren Mercedes MP4-26 + 1.846 19
7. Michael Schumacher DEU Mercedes GP W02 + 1.874 32
8. Nick Heidfeld DEU Renault R31 + 1.990 21
9. Jenson Button GBR McLaren Mercedes MP4-26 + 1.996 22
10. Rubens Barrichello BRZ Williams Cosworth FW33 + 2.070 20
11. Vitaly Petrov RUS Renault R31 + 2.099 22
12. Daniel Ricciardo AUS Toro Rosso Ferrari STR6 + 2.329 23
13. Pastor Maldonado VEN Williams Cosworth FW33 + 2.863 11
14. Nico Hülkenberg DEU Force India Mercedes VJM04 + 2.885 26
15. Adrian Sutil GBR Force India Mercedes VJM04 + 3.021 22
16. Felipe Massa BRZ Ferrari F150° Italia + 3.512 28
17. Kamui Kobayashi JPN Sauber Ferrari C30 + 3.677 23
18. Jaime Alguersuari ESP Toro Rosso Ferrari STR6 + 3.853 9
19. Heikki Kovalainen FIN Lotus Renault T128 + 4.089 21
20. Jérôme d’Ambrosio BEL Virgin Racing Cosworth MVR-02 + 5.754 18
21. Timo Glock DEU Virgin Racing Cosworth MVR-02 + 6.093 24
22. Vitantonio Liuzzi ITA HRT F1 Cosworth F111 + 6.126 23
23. Jarno Trulli ITA Lotus Renault T128 + 6.279 12
24. Narain Karthikeyan IND HRT F1 Cosworth F111 + 6.964 25

[Images via and 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.