European GP 2012
JUNE 22, 2012
Practice 1 Report - Maldonado tops first Valencia session
Spanish GP winner Pastor Maldonado (1:40.890) topped the first session of free practice in Valencia, ahead of closely-matched Red Bull duo Sebastian Vettel (1:40.973) and Mark Webber (1:40.984).
Maldonado is looking to re-establish a challenge following disappointing races in Monaco and Montreal after his Barcelona success.
The Red Bull RB8s feature substantial rear-end revisions in Valencia, developments that were always planned and not a response to the team's previous floor being deemed illegal by the FIA.
Another man keen to re-establish himself after a difficult period is Jenson Button, whose McLaren rear suspension is now in similar configuration to team mate Lewis Hamilton's after the super-smooth Button found that he was wearing his left rear tyres after three or four laps in Canada, where he was the only driver forced into making three stops. The Australian GP winner finished the session fourth fastest (1:40.994).
Fernando Alonso (1:41.065) was fifth quickest for Ferrari, ahead of an impressive-looking Paul Di Resta in the Force India (1:41.105). Michael Schumacher (1:41.117) was just a hundredth slower than the Scot, with Lewis Hamilton (1:41.158) and Nico Rosberg (1:41.182) next up.
The Lotuses, highly fancied by many in the heat of Valencia, finished the session with Kimi Raikkonen (1:41.620) and Romain Grosjean (1:41.784) 10th and 11th.