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