Fernando Alonso has set the pace in a rain-affected opening practice session for the Belgian Grand Prix today, posting the session’s quickest time during a momentary dry spell at the Spa-Francorchamps circuit.
The Spaniard managed to narrowly edge out the Force India duo of Paul di Resta and Adrian Sutil, who rounded out the top three positions on the timesheets,
With rain showers hitting the Ardennes circuit before the opening practice session, the field’s early running was restricted to either the Full Wet or Intermediate Pirelli tyres. The McLaren duo of Jenson Button and Sergio Pérez were fastest in this stage of proceedings, only to slip down the order as track conditions steadily improved over the course of the 90-minute session.
The track was at its best with around 20 minutes to go, and it was during this point that most of the field opted to switch to the Hard compound tyres. After the Force Indias claimed top spot on the timing monitors, it was Alonso’s turn to move ahead, with the Spaniard securing the provisionally-quickest position by just 0.026 seconds.
Pérez recovered somewhat to finish fourth-quickest, ahead of the German duo of Nico Rosberg and Sebastian Vettel in their respective Mercedes and Red Bull Racing entries. It was an uncharacteristically sloppy session from Vettel, who had an off-track moment at the final chicane, as well as a spin at the La Source hairpin.
The Saubers of Esteban Gutiérrez and Nico Hülkenberg were surprisingly well up the order in seventh and eighth respectively, while Daniel Ricciardo and Valtteri Bottas rounded out the top ten positions.
In his first outing behind the wheel of the Caterham CT03 since the Spanish Grand Prix back in May, Heikki Kovalainen drove well to finish sixteenth-quickest, narrowly pipping regular driver Giedo van der Garde, while the team’s Marrusia rivals were over a second adrift.
Mark Webber and the two Lotus runners of Kimi Räikkönen and Romain Grosjean finished well down the order, opting to save mileage and serious running for the afternoon, when the conditions are expected to improve.
2013 Belgian Formula 1 Grand Prix – Free Practice 1 Session Times:
|1.||Fernando Alonso||Scuderia Ferrari F138||1:55.198||11|
|2.||Paul di Resta||Force India Mercedes VJM06||1:55.224||+ 0.026||10|
|3.||Adrian Sutil||Force India Mercedes VJM06||1:55.373||+ 0.175||11|
|4.||Sergio Pérez||McLaren Mercedes MP4-28||1:55.518||+ 0.320||14|
|5.||Nico Rosberg||Mercedes AMG Petronas F1W04||1:55.614||+ 0.416||10|
|6.||Sebastian Vettel||Red Bull Racing Renault RB9||1:55.636||+ 0.438||14|
|7.||Esteban Gutiérrez||Sauber Ferrari C32||1:55.954||+ 0.756||18|
|8.||Nico Hülkenberg||Sauber Ferrari C32||1:56.110||+ 0.912||11|
|9.||Daniel Ricciardo||Scuderia Toro Rosso Ferrari STR8||1:56.770||+ 1.572||14|
|10.||Valtteri Bottas||Williams Renault FW35||1:56.858||+ 1.660||18|
|11.||Felipe Massa||Scuderia Ferrari F138||1:56.863||+ 1.665||10|
|12.||Pastor Maldonado||Williams Renault FW35||1:57.081||+ 1.883||14|
|13.||Jean-Éric Vergne||Scuderia Toro Rosso Ferrari STR8||1:57.084||+ 1.886||17|
|14.||Jenson Button||McLaren Mercedes MP4-28||1:57.281||+ 2.083||14|
|15.||Lewis Hamilton||Mercedes AMG Petronas F1W04||1:57.358||+ 2.160||10|
|16.||Heikki Kovalainen||Caterham Renault CT03||1:57.821||+ 2.623||16|
|17.||Giedo van der Garde||Caterham Renault CT03||1:57.887||+ 2.689||16|
|18.||Max Chilton||Marussia Cosworth MR02||1:58.600||+ 3.402||14|
|19.||Mark Webber||Red Bull Racing Renault RB9||1:58.929||+ 3.731||12|
|20.||Jules Bianchi||Marussia Cosworth MR02||1:59.209||+ 4.011||12|
|21.||Kimi Räikkönen||Lotus F1 Renault E21||1:59.441||+ 4.243||11|
|22.||Romain Grosjean||Lotus F1 Renault E21||2:03.176||+ 7.978||15|