Lewis Hamilton has set the pace in the opening practice session for the Formula 1 season finale at Brazil. With the running a prototype Pirelli tyre compound this session, Hamilton edged out Sebastian Vettel by just nine-thousandths of a second.
This was a critical session for the field. Not only are there crucial battles up and down the championship standings, but the opportunity to run on 2013-spec Pirelli tyres would be the teams’ one and only opportunity to gather critical data for next year’s car designs.
One would therefore think that all teams would aim to run as much as possible in the session, and barring any mechanical dramas, the field did so.
All except one outfit: HRT, which only completed less than half of the laps piloted by the other eleven teams. As expected, both Pedro de la Rosa and Narain Karthikeyan occupied the final two places on the timesheets, and the limited running was all part of the team’s ‘plan’, or so their end-of-day press release would claim.
The truth is perhaps not too far from this. Since the team has been put on the market, rumours have abounded that the team has a scarcity of spare parts, and the parts that are being run on both F112 chassis’ have limited mileage left in their lifespan. One can save money in many ways, it would seem…
Kimi Räikkönen was the only other driver to register a fraction of the mileage of the others, but it is believed that the Finn’s Lotus was stricken with an exhaust problem, which explained why he was confined to the garage for at least half the session and only clocked up sixteen laps.
Up at the front, it was a tightly-fought contest for top honours, and in the end it was Hamilton who took his McLaren to the top of the pecking order in his final Grand Prix for the Woking squad.
Last weekend’s winner in Texas posted a 1:14.131, just nine thousandths of a second quicker than Sebastian Vettel, who was himself less than six-hundredths of a second faster than his Red Bull Racing team-mate Mark Webber.
Right behind the leading trio came Jenson Button, with Fernando Alonso completing the top-five spots, only a quarter of a second slower than Hamilton on the timesheets.
The session was generally incident-free – save for a spin each for Timo Glock and Felipe Massa. Both were able to rejoin the action with nothing more than damaged pride and a few interesting shots for the cameras.
2012 Brazilian Formula 1 Grand Prix – Free Practice 1 Session Times:
|1.||Lewis Hamilton||McLaren Mercedes MP4-27||1:14.131||33|
|2.||Sebastian Vettel||Red Bull Racing Renault RB8||1:14.140||+ 0.009||35|
|3.||Mark Webber||Red Bull Racing Renault RB8||1:14.198||+ 0.067||34|
|4.||Jenson Button||McLaren Mercedes MP4-27||1:14.217||+ 0.086||31|
|5.||Fernando Alonso||Scuderia Ferrari F2012||1:14.392||+ 0.261||28|
|6.||Felipe Massa||Scuderia Ferrari F2012||1:14.716||+ 0.585||29|
|7.||Romain Grosjean||Lotus F1 Renault E20||1:14.719||+ 0.588||33|
|8.||Paul di Resta||Force India Mercedes VJM05||1:14.738||+ 0.607||34|
|9.||Pastor Maldonado||Williams Renault FW34||1:15.015||+ 0.884||37|
|10.||Nico Hülkenberg||Force India Mercedes VJM05||1:15.050||+ 0.919||32|
|11.||Michael Schumacher||Mercedes AMG F1 W03||1:15.114||+ 0.983||36|
|12.||Kamui Kobayashi||Sauber Ferrari C31||1:15.255||+ 1.124||31|
|13.||Sergio Pérez||Sauber Ferrari C31||1:15.396||+ 1.265||32|
|14.||Valtteri Bottas||Williams Renault FW34||1:15.413||+ 1.282||23|
|15.||Daniel Ricciardo||Scuderia Toro Rosso Ferrari STR7||1:15.587||+ 1.456||35|
|16.||Kimi Räikkönen||Lotus F1 Renault E20||1:15.701||+ 1.570||16|
|17.||Jean-Éric Vergne||Scuderia Toro Rosso Ferrari STR7||1:16.048||+ 1.917||35|
|18.||Nico Rosberg||Mercedes AMG F1 W03||1:16.315||+ 2.184||36|
|19.||Giedo van der Garde||Caterham Renault CT01||1:16.460||+ 2.329||32|
|20.||Timo Glock||Marussia Racing Cosworth MR01||1:16.506||+ 2.375||31|
|21.||Vitaly Petrov||Caterham Renault CT01||1:16.617||+ 2.486||30|
|22.||Charles Pic||Marussia Racing Cosworth MR01||1:17.234||+ 3.103||26|
|23.||Pedro de la Rosa||HRTF1 Cosworth F112||1:17.678||+ 3.547||15|
|24.||Narain Karthikeyan||HRTF1 Cosworth F112||1:17.895||+ 3.764||13|
Latest posts by Richard Bailey (see all)
- 2020 F1 Season Review (Blu Ray) - 27 February, 2021
- WTCR: Guerrieri outwits Muller at the Nordschleife - 26 September, 2020
- WTCR: Girolami breaks Nordschleife lap record to claim pole - 25 September, 2020
- WTCR: Hyundai withdraws from Germany round - 24 September, 2020
- WTCR: Ehrlacher leads Lynk & Co podium sweep at Zolder - 13 September, 2020