Indian GP - Friday - Practice Session 1 Report

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Sebastain Vettel

Sebastain Vettel 

 © Active Pictures

Sebastian Vettel took top honors in Free Practice 1 for the Indian Grand Prix. He clocked a time of 1:26.683 while his Red Bull teammate Mark Webber wound up second with a time of 1:26.871. Nico Rosberg (Mercedes) and Romain Grosjean (Lotus) went third and fourth quickest with respective laps of 1:26.899 and 1:26.990. They were the only four drivers to get into the one minute 26 second range.

The ambient air temperature at the start of the 90-minute session was 79 degrees Fahrenheit (26 degrees Celsius), and the track temperature was 90 degrees Fahrenheit (32 degrees Celsius.)

Pastor Maldonado (Williams) was the first out on the 16-turn 3.184-mile (5.125-km) Buddh International Circuit under a sunny but smoggy sky. Max Chilton (Marussia) and Valtteri Bottas (Williams) were out next.

Paul di Resta was ill so Force India put James Calado into his car for FP1.

After one or two installation laps for the drivers – Kimi Raikkonen did three as did his Lotus teammate Romain Grosjean – it was back to the pits for the usual wait.

23 minutes into the session, Sergio Perez headed out in his McLaren. After a warm-up lap he set off on a flying lap, and he had the track all to himself as he clocked a 1:30.953. On the next lap he lowered that to a 1:29.324.

He remained out there turning laps on Pirelli's medium compound slick with the white sidewalls. He completed a total of laps, set a time of 1:28.207, and nobody had ventured out to join him.

34 minutes into the session, Perez pitted. And now other drivers got going as the Williams teammates, Charles Pic (Caterham) and Daniel Ricciardo got to work.

Perez's teammate Jenson Button was the first to break below the 1:28 barrier when he set at 1:27.995 when it was 49 minutes into the session, Nico Rosberg beat that with a time of 1:27.937 in his Mercedes. 52 minutes into the session, Rosberg improved to 1:27.217. He and Button were still the only two drivers in the 1:27 bracket. Perez was third with his time of 1:28.207.

With 35 minutes remaining, Sebastian Vettel shot to the top with a time of 1:27.196 in his Red Bull. His teammate Mark Webber slotted into third with a 1:27.872.

With 33 minutes remaining, Rosberg beat Vettel's time to regain first place with a time of 1:26.899. Vettel responded with a 1:26.683. Felipe Massa was now third.

So, with 30 minutes to go, the top six were: Vettel, Rosberg, Massa, Webber, Button and Grosjean. Nico Hulkenberg (Sauber), Perez, Fernando Alonso (Ferrari) and Bottas rounded out the top 10.

With 27 minutes remaining, Grosjean moved into third with a time of 1:26.990. Raikkonen, meanwhile, was in the pits and 16th on the list with a time of 1:28.99.

With 23 minutes remaining, Maldonado had a quick spin and continued at Turn 6.

With 20 minutes remaining, the top six were: Vettel, Rosberg, Grosjean, Webber, Button and Perez. Chilton was at the tail-end of the list with a time of 1:30.471 in Marussia.

A couple of minutes later, Perez, who was sixth in the times in car number 6 slid off and continued at Turn 6.

With 13 minutes remaining, Lewis Hamilton bounced over the gravel traps at Turn 1 in his Mercedes. He was 14th fastest at the time.

As the session wound down and the tires wore out, the lap times were not going to improve amongst the top runners.

But that did not apply to Webber who took over second place after setting a 1:26.871 with 5 minutes remaining. Calado meanwhile had a spin at Turn 15. And then Hamilton moved into fifth with a 1:27.227.

The top 10 in FP1 were: Vettel, Webber, Rosberg, Grosjean, Hamilton, Button, Perez, Massa, Hulkenberg and Bottas.

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