Hamilton fastest in Indian GP free practice

Hamilton fastest in Indian GP free practice

28th Oct 2011 7:06 pm

Lewis Hamilton waited until the last possible moment to lead the way in an eventful first free practice session for the Indian Grand Prix

Red Bull looked to have made the perfect start to the weekend, Sebastian Vettel and Mark Webber having covered the first and second positions in the final moments, but that was until Hamilton's charging 1m26.836s lap put him top as the chequered flag fell. Though there was some suspicion that yellow flags had been waving when he set it.

The McLaren of Jenson Button was fourth fastest ahead of Michael Schumacher and NicoRosberg in the two Mercedes.

Perhaps appropriately it was Adrian Sutil's Force India that was the first Formula 1 car on track for the dry, sunny - and still dusty - opening session. He was followed out by the country's home-grown talent Karun Chandhok.

But no sooner had they got out on track than they were back in the pits again as the session was red-flagged to retrieve a stray dog that had wandered in to the action zone.

The track was made live again after five minutes and initially it was Chandhok, and compatriot NarianKarthikeyan who squabbled over the top spot. That was until Michael Schumacher came out and set a benchmark of 1m38.658s. A that mark was set to shrink by 12s before the end of the session.

Indeed Schumacher lopped four seconds off it himself just before the first half-hour was up.

Jaime Alguerusari moved to the top not long after Schumacher set that lap and would then spend the next 15 minutes improving his time as he fought off the attentions of Rosberg and his own Toro Rosso team-mate SebastienBuemi.

Eventually Button emerged from the pit for a proper run at half distance moving the goalposts significantly with a 1m30.794s lap. This seemed to trigger a flurry of activity from the top men as Vettel also joined in. But the world champion's attempt was scuppered by a trip off-track at the Turn 5/Turn 6 section - something that would happen to several drivers as they learned the new layout.

Button remained top through the second half hour as several drivers joined the fray, but Fernando Alonso wasn't one of them. The Ferrari driver managing just four laps before he parked up off track, sidelined by an engine problem.

Hamilton moved to the top with 25 minutes to go lapping in 1m27.515s, as Vettel too moved ahead of Button. Webber's arrival in second then bumped the Englishman to fourth.

The last 15 minutes saw the Red Bulls move into familiar position as Webber kept his foot in to set a 1m27.428s, only to then watch the world champion steal his thunder with a 1m27.416s.

Things may have changed again, but a dramatic ten minutes which saw Alguersuari thump the Turn 10 barrier with the rear of his Toro Rosso and engine problems for Pastor Maldonado render the circuit a yellow zone for much of it. Sergio Perez too made a run across the grass.

 

It was in the aftermath of all this, as the track finally cleared that Hamilton set his lap, with flags still apparently waving in the area of Maldonado's smoky Williams.

Behind the top six Felipe Massa was seventh fastest in the only operational Ferrari, sparking his way around the track with a new front wing. Sutil ended up eighth ahead of Buemi and Kamui Kobayashi in the Sauber.

Of the Indians in the field, Chandhok was 19th fastest for Lotus in the end, but was more than 1.6s off the pace of team-mate JarnoTrulli, while Karthikeyan was 22nd.

 

Pos

 

No

 

Driver

 

Team

 

Time/Retired

 

Gap

 

Laps

1

3

Lewis Hamilton

McLaren-Mercedes

1:26.836

 

22

2

1

Sebastian Vettel

RBR-Renault

1:27.416

0.580

23

3

2

Mark Webber

RBR-Renault

1:27.428

0.592

27

4

4

Jenson Button

McLaren-Mercedes

1:28.394

1.558

23

5

7

Michael Schumacher

Mercedes

1:28.531

1.695

23

6

8

NicoRosberg

Mercedes

1:28.542

1.706

29

7

6

Felipe Massa

Ferrari

1:28.644

1.808

22

8

14

Adrian Sutil

Force India-Mercedes

1:28.705

1.869

23

9

18

SebastienBuemi

STR-Ferrari

1:29.219

2.383

24

10

16

Kamui Kobayashi

Sauber-Ferrari

1:29.355

2.519

29

11

15

Paul di Resta

Force India-Mercedes

1:29.700

2.864

24

12

10

VitalyPetrov

Renault

1:29.705

2.869

22

13

9

Bruno Senna

Renault

1:29.799

2.963

20

14

17

Sergio Perez

Sauber-Ferrari

1:30.132

3.296

25

15

11

Rubens Barrichello

Williams-Cosworth

1:30.367

3.531

21

16

19

Jaime Alguersuari

STR-Ferrari

1:30.566

3.730

19

17

12

Pastor Maldonado

Williams-Cosworth

1:30.669

3.833

22

18

21

JarnoTrulli

Lotus-Renault

1:30.818

3.982

22

19

20

Karun Chandhok

Lotus-Renault

1:32.487

5.651

24

20

24

TimoGlock

Virgin-Cosworth

1:32.771

5.935

24

21

23

NarainKarthikeyan

HRT-Cosworth

1:33.928

7.092

27

22

22

Daniel Ricciardo

HRT-Cosworth

1:34.113

7.277

30

23

25

Jerome d'Ambrosio

Virgin-Cosworth

1:35.796

8.960

19

24

5

Fernando Alonso

Ferrari

1:35.899

9.063

4

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Story: Autosport.com

 

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