Lewis Hamilton has set the fastest time in a delayed and shortened opening practice session of the Singapore Grand Prix. The McLaren driver’s best time was some four-tenths of a second faster than second-placed Sebastian Vettel, who was himself a full second faster than Red Bull team-mate Mark Webber.
The start of the session was delayed by some thirty minutes when officials deemed that several kerbs would be removed, and the session was then red-flagged with less than ten minutes to go when a bolt holding down another kerb popped up.
Little of this served to throw up any great surprises when it came to the overall lap times of the competitors, with the top three teams – Red Bull, McLaren and Ferrari – occupying the top six positions, with Fernando Alonso, Jenson Button and Felipe Massa completing the running order.
Next up was a Mercedes-powered quartet of Force India and factory cars, with Adrian Sutil in seventh, followed by Michael Schumacher, Paul di Resta and Nico Rosberg.
They were followed by the two Williams’ of Rubens Barrichello and Pastor Maldonado, with the pair split by Toro Rosso’s Jaime Alguersuari, while the Saubers of Sergio Pérez and Kamui Kobayashi were next up.
Renault trialled new bodywork for the opening practice session, but this seemed to yield few dividends, with Bruno Senna and Vitaly Petrov only 16th and 18th on the timesheets.
The bottom of the timesheets again saw the Team Lotus duo of Jarno Trulli and Heikki Kovalainen round out 19th and 20th on the timesheets, comfortably clear of the chasing Virgin and HRT entrants, but not near enough to the outright race of the lower midfield.
Aside from the kerbing issues, the session saw two other incidents of note: Kovalainen caused a red flag when his front brakes caught fire, while Webber tagged the back of Timo Glock at the penultimate corner, which caused a slightly damaged front wing to the former and a rear puncture for the latter.
2011 Singapore Grand Prix – Free Practice 1 Session Times:
|1.||Lewis Hamilton||McLaren Mercedes MP4-26||1:48.599||10|
|2.||Sebastian Vettel||Red Bull Renault RB7||+ 0.406||15|
|3.||Mark Webber||Red Bull Renault RB7||+ 1.467||16|
|4.||Fernando Alonso||Ferrari F150° Italia||+ 1.997||11|
|5.||Jenson Button||McLaren Mercedes MP4-26||+ 2.353||12|
|6.||Felipe Massa||Ferrari F150° Italia||+ 3.444||14|
|7.||Adrian Sutil||Force India Mercedes VJM04||+ 3.652||13|
|8.||Michael Schumacher||Mercedes GP W02||+ 3.817||12|
|9.||Paul di Resta||Force India Mercedes VJM04||+ 3.836||13|
|10.||Nico Rosberg||Mercedes GP W02||+ 4.216||13|
|11.||Rubens Barrichello||Williams Cosworth FW33||+ 4.392||17|
|12.||Jaime Alguersuari||Toro Rosso Ferrari STR6||+ 4.451||17|
|13.||Pastor Maldonado||Williams Cosworth FW33||+ 4.800||18|
|14.||Sergio Pérez||Sauber Ferrari C30||+ 5.104||19|
|15.||Kamui Kobayashi||Sauber Ferrari C30||+ 5.150||12|
|16.||Bruno Senna||Renault R31||+ 5.166||17|
|17.||Sébastien Buemi||Toro Rosso Ferrari STR6||+ 5.186||16|
|18.||Vitaly Petrov||Renault R31||+ 6.137||8|
|19.||Jarno Trulli||Lotus Renault T128||+ 6.222||9|
|20.||Heikki Kovalainen||Lotus Renault T128||+ 7.599||8|
|21.||Timo Glock||Virgin Racing Cosworth MVR-02||+ 9.199||13|
|22.||Jérôme d’Ambrosio||Virgin Racing Cosworth MVR-02||+ 10.193||6|
|23.||Daniel Ricciardo||HRT F1 Cosworth F111||+ 10.570||17|
|24.||Narain Karthikeyan||HRT F1 Cosworth F111||+ 10.615||18|
[Image via FOM and Sutton Images]