Kimi Raikkonen had a heavy accident in the opening practice session

Lewis Hamilton has done his customary trick of being the fastest driver in the opening practice session for a Grand Prix, with the Englishman once again claiming the honours in this morning’s first on-track running for the Korean Grand Prix.

The former World Champion narrowly edged out Sebastian Vettel for top spot by less than four-hundredths of a second on the stopwatch, but the major talking point of the session was the dramatic accident that befell Kimi Räikkönen.

The session started quietly with the initial run of installation laps, and with the dusty track surface offering little in the way of grip, it took Sergio Pérez to register the first competitive lap time before the other frontrunners followed suit.

The order atop the timesheets changed on a number of occasions, with Hamilton ultimately emerging on top, with Vettel coming closest with a 1:39.667 on a set of tyres that had clocked up twenty laps.

Their respective teammates Nico Rosberg and Mark Webber made it a Mercedes / Red Bull 1-2-3-4 on the timesheets, ahead of Fernando Alonso and Jenson Button and the Lotus pairing of Romain Grosjean and Räikkönen.

The Finn provided the biggest moment of the session, losing control through the Turns 17/18 kink before hitting the barriers. While the Ferrari-bound driver was lucky to emerge unhurt, the same could not be said for his Lotus E21, which had plenty of damage needing repair by his mechanics.

Räikkönen wasn’t the only one to come to grief during the session. Marussia test driver Rodolfo González – driving in place of Jules Bianchi in the session – had a clumsy crash at Turn 13, knocking the front wing assembly off his MR02.

Pérez finished the session ninth-fastest in the sister McLaren, while Felipe Massa was tenth0quickest, having lost some on-track running with a suspected puncture.

2013 Korean Formula 1 Grand Prix – Free Practice 1 Session Times:

Driver Team Time Gap Laps
1. Lewis Hamilton GBR Mercedes AMG Petronas F1W04 1:39.630   20
2. Sebastian Vettel DEU Red Bull Racing Renault RB9 1:39.667 + 0.037 20
3. Mark Webber AUS Red Bull Racing Renault RB9 1:39.816 + 0.186 19
4. Nico Rosberg DEU Mercedes AMG Petronas F1W04 1:40.117 + 0.487 20
5. Jenson Button GBR McLaren Mercedes MP4-28 1:40.215 + 0.585 22
6. Fernando Alonso ESP Scuderia Ferrari F138 1:40.374 + 0.744 18
7. Romain Grosjean FRA Lotus F1 Renault E21 1:40.396 + 0.766 19
8. Kimi Räikkönen FIN Lotus F1 Renault E21 1:40.677 + 1.047 15
9. Sergio Pérez MEX McLaren Mercedes MP4-28 1:40.860 + 1.230 20
10. Felipe Massa BRA Scuderia Ferrari F138 1:40.880 + 1.250 13
11. Nico Hülkenberg DEU Sauber Ferrari C32 1:40.899 + 1.269 20
12. Adrian Sutil DEU Force India Mercedes VJM06 1:41.432 + 1.802 18
13. Pastor Maldonado VEN Williams Renault FW35 1:41.482 + 1.852 22
14. Esteban Gutiérrez MEX Sauber Ferrari C32 1:41.626 + 1.996 21
15. Jean-Éric Vergne FRA Scuderia Toro Rosso Ferrari STR8 1:41.924 + 2.294 19
16. Valtteri Bottas FIN Williams Renault FW35 1:42.002 + 2.372 20
17. Daniel Ricciardo AUS Scuderia Toro Rosso Ferrari STR8 1:42.043 + 2.413 18
18. James Calado GBR Force India Mercedes VJM06 1:43.008 + 3.378 21
19. Charles Pic FRA Caterham Renault CT03 1:43.660 + 4.030 20
20. Giedo van der Garde NED Caterham Renault CT03 1:43.883 + 4.253 19
21. Max Chilton GBR Marussia Cosworth MR02 1:44.100 + 4.470 14
22. Rodolfo Gonzalez VEN Marussia Cosworth MR02 1:46.810 + 7.180 10

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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.