Mark Webber was fastest in Friday's opening practice session for the Brazilian Grand Prix

Mark Webber has kicked off his Brazilian Grand Prix weekend in positive fashion by rounding out Friday’s first practice session as the quickest driver. With the McLarens having set the pace early on, the Australian moved to the top of the timesheets by the end of the 90-minute session.

Conditions were bright and sunny as the track opened for business on the sport’s sole visit to South America, with track temperatures peaking at 42°C (108°F) under a near cloudless sky.

The session saw a host of test drivers – five, no less – enjoy outings in this session, with GP2 Champion Romain Grosjean piloting Vitaly Petrov’s Renault, Jean-Eric Vergne in Sébastien Buemi’s Toro Rosso, while Nico Hülkenberg, Luiz Razia and Jan Charouz drove for Force India, Toro Rosso, Team Lotus and HRT respectively.

The session was largely incident-free, although Charouz took a trip across the Senna ‘S’ run-off and Kamui Kobayashi had a spin in his Sauber at Bico de Pato. Romain Grosjean’s session came to a premature halt when he stalled his Renault practicing a start at the pit exit, and Fernando Alonso’s engine (admittedly, one well up on mileage) gave up with five minutes of the session to go.

Team Lotus trialled a new rear wing that it hopes will give it better straight-line speed, and Heikki Kovalainen lapped just 2.7 seconds of Webber’s quickest lap of the day.

With the McLaren drivers and Sebastian Vettel trading quickest laps earlier in the session, Webber moved to the top of the order with a 1:13.881, just 0.014 seconds quicker than provisional leader Jenson Button.



2011 Brazilian Grand Prix – Free Practice 1 Session Times:

Driver Team Time Laps
1. Mark Webber AUS Red Bull Renault RB7 1:13.811 26
2. Jenson Button GBR McLaren Mercedes MP4-26 + 0.014 25
3. Lewis Hamilton GBR McLaren Mercedes MP4-26 + 0.150 20
4. Sebastian Vettel DEU Red Bull Renault RB7 + 0.214 28
5. Felipe Massa BRZ Ferrari F150° Italia + 0.696 34
6. Fernando Alonso ESP Ferrari F150° Italia + 0.730 26
7. Michael Schumacher DEU Mercedes GP W02 + 1.351 28
8. Nico Hülkenberg DEU Force India Mercedes VJM04 + 1.367 28
9. Paul di Resta GBR Force India Mercedes VJM04 + 1.430 31
10. Nico Rosberg DEU Mercedes GP W02 + 1.510 29
11. Jaime Alguersuari ESP Toro Rosso Ferrari STR6 + 1.657 29
12. Romain Grosjean FRA Renault R31 + 1.736 18
13. Rubens Barrichello BRZ Williams Cosworth FW33 + 1.852 27
14. Bruno Senna BRZ Renault R31 + 1.921 32
15. Kamui Kobayashi JPN Sauber Ferrari C30 + 1.936 31
16. Pastor Maldonado VEN Williams Cosworth FW33 + 2.025 27
17. Sergio Pérez MEX Sauber Ferrari C30 + 2.168 35
18. Jean–Éric Vergne FRA Toro Rosso Ferrari STR6 + 2.241 33
19. Heikki Kovalainen FIN Lotus Renault T128 + 2.703 33
20. Luiz Razia BRZ Lotus Renault T128 + 3.784 31
21. Timo Glock DEU Virgin Racing Cosworth MVR-02 + 4.329 29
22. Jérôme d’Ambrosio BEL Virgin Racing Cosworth MVR-02 + 4.842 29
23. Daniel Ricciardo AUS HRT F1 Cosworth F111 + 5.141 33
24. Jan Charouz CZE HRT F1 Cosworth F111 + 5.766 37

[Image via 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.