Lewis Hamilton has kicked off the first-ever practice session for the Indian Grand Prix in impressive style on Friday morning. The McLaren driver posted the quickest time in the day’s first 90-minute session, although he could be sanctioned for posting his fastest lap time during a yellow-flag period.
With the sport enjoying a warm welcome on its first visit to the subcontinent, much of the session was spent with drivers trying to lean a brand-new track, as well as giving it the opportunity to ‘rubber in’.
Almost immediately after the session began, the red flags were unfurled when a stray dog ran onto the circuit. Fortunately the animal was not hit by anyone, but it was a serious matter that will need further investigation.
Barely minutes later after running had resumed, Fernando Alonso parked his Ferrari, which was later confirmed to have suffered an engine problem. Towards the end of the session, Pastor Maldonado’s Williams ground to a halt with a smoky engine failure.
Despite there being double-waved yellow flags in the vicinity of Maldonado’s stricken Williams, Hamilton still registered his (and the session’s) fastest lap-time, clocking a 1:26.836 to move to the top of the order by almost six-tenths of a second.
Before that, Red Bull Racing led a seemingly-assured 1-2 in the session, with Sebastian Vettel out-pacing team-mate Mark Webber to the tune of just 0.012 seconds.
Fourth-fastest and almost a second slower than the Red Bulls was Jenson Button, with the McLaren driver just edging out Mercedes GP duo Michael Schumacher and Nico Rosberg.
As the only Ferrari driver to clock up any sort of mileage, Felipe Massa finished seventh-fastest, while Adrian Sutil, Sébastien Buemi and Kamui Kobayashi completed the top-ten.
2011 Indian Grand Prix – Free Practice 1 Session Times:
|1.||Lewis Hamilton||McLaren Mercedes MP4-26||1:26.836||22|
|2.||Sebastian Vettel||Red Bull Renault RB7||+ 0.580||23|
|3.||Mark Webber||Red Bull Renault RB7||+ 0.592||27|
|4.||Jenson Button||McLaren Mercedes MP4-26||+ 1.558||23|
|5.||Michael Schumacher||Mercedes GP W02||+ 1.692||23|
|6.||Nico Rosberg||Mercedes GP W02||+ 1.706||29|
|7.||Felipe Massa||Ferrari F150° Italia||+ 1.808||22|
|8.||Adrian Sutil||Force India Mercedes VJM04||+ 1.869||23|
|9.||Sébastien Buemi||Toro Rosso Ferrari STR6||+ 2.383||24|
|10.||Kamui Kobayashi||Sauber Ferrari C30||+ 2.519||29|
|11.||Paul di Resta||Force India Mercedes VJM04||+ 2.864||24|
|12.||Vitaly Petrov||Renault R31||+ 2.869||22|
|13.||Bruno Senna||Renault R31||+ 2.963||20|
|14.||Sergio Pérez||Sauber Ferrari C30||+ 3.296||25|
|15.||Rubens Barrichello||Williams Cosworth FW33||+ 3.531||21|
|16.||Jaime Alguersuari||Toro Rosso Ferrari STR6||+ 3.730||19|
|17.||Pastor Maldonado||Williams Cosworth FW33||+ 3.833||22|
|18.||Jarno Trulli||Lotus Renault T128||+ 3.982||22|
|19.||Karun Chandhok||Lotus Renault T128||+ 5.651||24|
|20.||Daniel Ricciardo||HRT F1 Cosworth F111||+ 5.935||24|
|21.||Narain Karthikeyan||HRT F1 Cosworth F111||+ 7.092||27|
|22.||Jérôme d’Ambrosio||Virgin Racing Cosworth MVR-02||+ 7.277||30|
|23.||Timo Glock||Virgin Racing Cosworth MVR-02||+ 8.960||19|
|24.||Fernando Alonso||Ferrari F150° Italia||+ 9.063||4|
[Image via LAT]