Australian GP - Friday - Practice Session 1 Report
Robert Kubica‚Äôs Renault set pace in the first session of practice for the Australian Grand Prix on a sunny but windy Friday in Melbourne.
As usual it‚Äôs far too early to draw any conclusions given the different fuel loads and a green track but the Renaults were able to mix it with the big boys for much of the morning. Kubica went fastest of all with 15 minutes left while Vitaly Petrov finished 9th despite a spin over the kerbs at turn 9.
Nico Rosberg continued his run of form with the 2nd fastest time, again ahead of team-mate Michael Schumacher who was 12th. The seven-time world champion nonetheless cut a much happier figure than he appeared during practice in Bahrain.
McLaren‚Äôs Jenson Button was 3rd fastest, ahead of early pacesetter Lewis Hamilton in 7th. Felipe Massa was the faster Ferrari driver, ending up 4th with Fernando Alonso 6th. Sebastian Vettel was 5th in the Red Bull while home hero Mark Webber went off late in the session and ended up down in 14th.
Sebastien Buemi‚Äôs Toro Rosso was 8th while Vitantonio Liuzzi rounded out the top ten. Britain‚Äôs Paul di Resta made his F1 debut in the Force India in place of Adrian Sutil for this practice session, setting some respectable lap times from the off and finishing 11th.
Sauber had an eventful morning for all the wrong reasons. Kamui Kobayashi went off on his 4th lap of the day after destroying his front wing on a cone on the inside of turn 12. That briefly brought out a red flag while a marshal cleared away the debris. Then on his next out lap his entire front wing fell off as he went along the straight, causing him to go straight on into the gravel at turn 3. He escaped injury but took no further part in the last half hour while checks were carried out. Pedro de la Rosa did little to improve the mood in the Sauber garage by stopping on the circuit with ten minutes left.
Of the new teams, Hispania‚Äôs Karun Chandhok had a better start to the weekend than he endured in Bahrain, putting in a decent run of laps. Lotus had teething trouble as Jarno Trulli missed the first half of the morning due to a hydraulic problem while Heikki Kovalainen parked his car on the circuit at the end.