Japanese GP - Friday - Practice Session 1 Report

McLaren quickest at Suzuka

Jenson Button, Japanese GP 2011

Jenson Button, Japanese GP 2011 

 © The Cahier Archive

The McLarens of Jenson Button (1:33.634) and Lewis Hamilton (1:33.725) topped the first session of free practice for Sunday's Japanese Grand Prix, round 15 of the FIA Formula 1 World Championship.

Button was quickest in sectors one and two of the testing Suzuka track, while Hamilton was fastest in the final sector.

Needing just a single point or any result other than a Button win to clinch back-to-back world titles, Sebastian Vettel (1:34.090) had to be content with third fastest time in the opening session.

Pushing on his final lap, the world champion went off at Degner, coming into very light contact with the tyre barrier.

Fernando Alonso's Ferrari (1:34.372) was fourth fastest, from Mark Webber (1:34.426) in the second Red Bull RB7.

There was then a half second gap to an impressive performance from Jaime Alguersuari (1:34.937) in the first of the Toro Rossos. The team was hoping to gain some extra performance from a revised exhaust layout in Japan and the first session looked good, with Sebastian Buemi (1:35.590) also firmly in the top 10, eighth quickest.

Felipe Massa's Ferrari (1:35.585) was sandwiched between the two Toro Rossos, with Michael Schumacher's Mercedes (1:36.063) ninth and Vitaly Petrov's Renault (1:36.370) 10th.

Pastor Maldonado's Williams finished the session after 42 minutes when the Venezuelan went off in the sector one sweepers.

Karun Chandhok had another Friday morning in the Lotus in place of Heikki Kovalainen and ended up 0.8s from Jarno Trulli in the sister car, while Narain Karthikeyan finished up 0.67s from Daniel Ricciardo at HRT.

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