Korean GP - Friday - Practice Session 1 Report
Hamilton fastest as Korea gets underway
Lewis Hamilton (1:40.887) pipped Robert Kubica (1:40.968) to quickest time in the opening session of free practice for the inaugural Korean Grand Prix.
As expected, the new circuit was extremely slippery but that did not stop drivers going around 3s quicker than the predicted lap times shown by most simulations. Although times in the opening session of a GP weekend are largely irrelevant, it was perhaps no surprise that a couple of attacking, reactive drivers like Hamilton and Kubica should head the list after the first session on the new track.
Nico Rosberg (1:41.152) set third fastest time, ahead of Sebastian Vettel's Red Bull (1:41.371), with Jenson Button fifth (1:41.940) in the second McLaren. Michael Schumacher (1:42.022) put the second Mercedes sixth, a couple of tenths up on championship leader Mark Webber, who lost time mid-session as the team checked a front brake issue.
Nick Heidfeld (1:42.293) was eighth with the first of the Sauber-Ferraris as the Williams-Cosworths of Nico Hulkenberg (1:42.678) and Rubens Barrichello (1:42.883) completed the top 10.
McLaren conducted a quick rear wing evaluation early in the session after having insufficient time to collect data in Suzuka as a result of Lewis Hamilton's Friday shunt. The results seemed to confirm that the upgraded wing was the way to go and both cars finished the session with it in place.
Further down, Jarno Trulli's opening session was interrupted by a gearbox problem and Bruno Senna suffered what appeared to be a left rear suspension failure on the HRT, which pitched the car into a spin before Bruno came to a halt without contacting anything solid.