Australian GP - Friday - Practice Session 1 Report

Vettel quicket in opening session for 2013

Sebastian Vettel, Australian GP 2013

Sebastian Vettel, Australian GP 2013 

 © The Cahier Archive

The first clue of who will have the fastest car this season came in the opening practice session for the Australian Grand Prix when reigning world champion Sebastian Vettel set the fastest lap time in his Red Bull ahead of the Ferraris of Felipe Massa and Fernando Alonso.

Australian Daniel Ricciardo was the first driver out on the track as the 2013 FIA Formula One World Championship officially got underway with the first Friday Free Practice of the season. He steered his Toro Rosso out of pitlane followed by Romain Grosjean (Lotus), Jean-Eric Vergne (Toro Rosso), Esteban Gutierrez (Sauber) and Kimi Raikkonen (Lotus.)

After doing just one or two installation laps, all the drivers – except Alonso who had yet to go out – returned to the pits and the track went quiet. Alonso finally headed out 25 minutes into the session but only for a single lap.

With 56 minutes remaining in the 90-minute session, Ricciardo went back out and became the first driver to complete the first flying lap of the season.

Once the serious running got underway, Vettel put his Red Bull on top of time timing screens with a time of 1:27.211 ahead of Massa and Alonso, Lewis Hamilton (Mercedes) and Mark Webber (Red Bull.)

Several drivers including Massa, Jules Bianchi (Marussia) and Pastor Maldonado (Williams) slid off the track, but there were no spins or major incidents during the session until Paul di Resta slid his Force India sideways into the gravel trap at Turn 6 in the final minutes.

The order of the top six remained unchanged, so Vettel ended up fastest overall with his lap of 1:27.211, followed by Massa (1:27.289), Alonso (1:27.547), Hamilton (1:27.552), Webber (1:27.668) and Raikkonen (1:27.887.) They were the only drivers to break into the 1:27 range. Nico Rosberg posted the seventh fastest time – 1:28.013 – in his Mercedes.

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