Catch me if you can - Sebastian Vettel has fired the opening salvo at the Indian Grand Prix

Formula 1 championship leader Sebastian Vettel has finished atop the timesheets at the end of the first practice session for this weekend’s Indian Grand Prix. The German beat Jenson Button and Fernando Alonso to top spot, posting a fastest lap time of 1:27.619 around the Buddh International Circuit.

This being the sport’s second visit to the venue, the opening 90-minute session was greeted with warm, hazy conditions that helped keep the forecasted ambient temperatures a little cooler. Track conditions were again dusty, and as the circuit steadily gripped up with more running, so the lap times started to drop.

Three reserve drivers were in action during the session, Heikki Kovalainen relinquished his Caterham cockpit for the team’s reserve driver, Giedo van der Garde, while Bruno Senna once again sat on the sidelines as Williams understudy Valtteri Bottas continues to stake his claim for a promotion to the team’s race line-up.

Down at Sauber, Mexican rookie Esteban Gutiérrez had his first-ever Grand Prix outing, taking over from an unwell Sergio Pérez, who was benched for the morning’s action while he continues to feel the affects of a heavy cold that has afflicted him since he arrived on the subcontinent.

At the sharp end of the timesheets, it was Vettel who managed to beat Button to top spot by over three-tenths of a second, while Fernando Alonso ended the session third-fastest in his Ferrari. Lewis Hamilton and Mark Webber completed the top-five positions on the timesheets, while the top-ten was completed by Nico Rosberg, Felipe Massa, Michael Schumacher, Daniel Ricciardo and Kimi Räikkönen, who was having his very first outing around the circuit.

2012 Indian Formula 1 Grand Prix – Free Practice 1 Session Times:

Driver Team Time Gap Laps
1. Sebastian Vettel DEU Red Bull Racing Renault RB8 1:27.619   22
2. Jenson Button GBR McLaren Mercedes MP4-27 1:27.929 + 0.310 22
3. Fernando Alonso ESP Scuderia Ferrari F2012 1:28.044 + 0.425 24
4. Lewis Hamilton GBR McLaren Mercedes MP4-27 1:28.046 + 0.427 25
5. Mark Webber AUS Red Bull Racing Renault RB8 1:28.175 + 0.556 22
6. Nico Rosberg DEU Mercedes AMG F1 W03 1:28.447 + 0.828 25
7. Felipe Massa BRA Scuderia Ferrari F2012 1:28.542 + 0.923 24
8. Michael Schumacher DEU Mercedes AMG F1 W03 1:28.993 + 1.374 23
9. Daniel Ricciardo AUS Scuderia Toro Rosso Ferrari STR7 1:29.204 + 1.585 24
10. Kimi Räikkönen FIN Lotus F1 Renault E20 1:29.291 + 1.672 24
11. Valtteri Bottas FIN Williams Renault FW34 1:29.691 + 2.072 26
12. Paul di Resta GBR Force India Mercedes VJM05 1:29.760 + 2.141 23
13. Kamui Kobayashi JPN Sauber Ferrari C31 1:29.802 + 2.183 18
14. Nico Hülkenberg DEU Force India Mercedes VJM05 1:29.850 + 2.231 19
15. Romain Grosjean FRA Lotus F1 Renault E20 1:29.895 + 2.276 19
16. Pastor Maldonado VEN Williams Renault FW34 1:30.041 + 2.422 26
17. Jean-Éric Vergne FRA Scuderia Toro Rosso Ferrari STR7 1:30.401 + 2.782 23
18. Vitaly Petrov RUS Caterham Renault CT01 1:30.630 + 3.011 24
19. Giedo van der Garde NED Caterham Renault CT01 1:30.896 + 3.277 20
20. Esteban Gutiérrez MEX Sauber Ferrari C31 1:31.212 + 3.593 29
21. Charles Pic FRA Marussia Racing Cosworth MR01 1:31.903 + 4.284 22
22. Narain Karthikeyan IND HRTF1 Cosworth F112 1:32.125 + 4.506 24
23. Timo Glock DEU Marussia Racing Cosworth MR01 1:32.369 + 4.750 19
24. Pedro de la Rosa ESP HRTF1 Cosworth F112 1:32.859 + 5.240 13

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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.

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