2010 Korean Grand Prix (Yeongam, Round 17, October 22nd)

Korea circuit layout. © FIA

Free Practice 1
It was very close, but the Korean International Circuit was just about ready as cars hit the track for first practice on Friday morning. As expected, the Yeongam circuit was covered in a shroud of dust and dirt, making it difficult for the teams and drivers to get set-up absolutely right and set representative times.

It didn’t stop McLaren’s Lewis Hamilton from registering the quickest lap of the morning, with only Robert Kubica (Renault), Nico Rosberg (Mercedes) and Sebastian Vettel (Red Bull) getting remotely close.
That Hamilton set his time (1:40.887) despite missing most of the session is quite an achievement in itself; however that benchmark will undoubtedly change as the circuit rubbers in throughout the weekend.

Hamilton’s team mate, Jenson Button notched up the 5th fastest time as the British team tried a number of upgrades, one of which was a a new rear wing. It was initially used in Japan, but disregarded at that track, only to reappear slightly tweaked in Korea.The Red Bull team brought an upgraded F-duct to Korea, while Ferrari arrived with a modified floor. Webber, who set the 7th fastest time, missed part of the session, as he was sidelined with a minor brake issue; while the Ferrari pair could do no better than 12th (Felipe Massa) and 15th (Fernando Alonso).

There was also some disappointment at both Lotus and Hispania Racing – Jarno Trulli suffered a gearbox problem in his Anglo/Malaysian machine, while Bruno Senna’s Spanish charger spun its way out of practice with a broken left rear suspension. At Virgin, Jerome D’Ambrosio once again replaced Lucas di Grassi for first practice – it’ll be tough for di Grassi, as he will be on the back foot on this unknown track, just as his seat becomes more and more insecure.
There were worries about the pitlane entrance, as it slightly covets the racing line into turn 18; however the organisers may look into that following the second practice to see if it can be modified to be less disruptive.

Free Practice 2
As expected, the times came down by quite a margin in second free practice session, with Red Bull’s Mark Webber claiming the top spot after ninety minutes with a 1:37.942 lap.  The Australian topped the sheets ahead of Fernando Alonso (Ferrari), Lewis Hamilton (McLaren) and Robert Kubica (Renault). Webber “enjoyed” a big spin into dirty run off area in turn 11; his blue and red machine tearing up part of the astroturf in the process, but not doing damage to the Renault-powered car.
Jenson Button had a small issue with the exhausts of the McLaren overheating in the pitlane. It would leave the reigning Champion stuck in the garage for a short time; however he did eventually take to track, registering the 5th best time.

Further down the field, Sakon Yamamoto stopped on track midway through practice. The Hispania driver spun exiting turn 16, damaging his front wing and stalling his car in between the walled section, bringing out the red flag. Later, his team were fined $5000 and reprimanded for sending the Japanese driver out with a tyre warmer still attached to the right rear.
His team mate Bruno Senna didn’t get out on track until the final few minutes of the afternoon – the Brazilian was sidelined by a gearbox failure, following the collapse of his suspension in the morning. Both Hispania’s were the slowest of the 24 runners. Lucas di Grassi was back in his Virgin for the second session, although the Brazilian still found himself 0.9 of-a-second shy of teammate Timo Glock.
Vitantonio Liuzzi stopped out of track at the tail end of the session with another car failure. The Italian did manage to go one-tenth of-a-second faster than team mate Adrian Sutil, but that means little if the car falters.

A consistent complaint from the teams was the lack of grip in the pitlane. Mercedes were quite vociferous and even replaced their front jackman in the second session with an orange cone, due to their pit worker taking a number of knocks in the morning.

Korea, 2nd Free Practice (October 22nd)
1  WEBBER        Red Bull      1m37.942s
2  ALONSO        Ferrari       1m38.132s
3  HAMILTON      McLaren       1m38.279s
4  KUBICA        Renault       1m38.718s
5  BUTTON        McLaren       1m38.726s
6  MASSA         Ferrari       1m38.820s
7  VETTEL        Red Bull      1m39.204s
8  PETROV        Renault       1m39.267s
9  ROSBERG       Mercedes      1m39.268s
10 KOBAYASHI     Sauber        1m39.564s
11 HEIDFELD      Sauber        1m39.588s
12 SCHUMACHER    Mercedes      1m39.598s
13 BARRICHELLO   Williams      1m39.812s
14 LIUZZI        Force India   1m39.881s
15 SUTIL         Force India   1m39.971s
16 HULKENBERG    Williams      1m40.478s
17 ALGUERSUARI   Toro Rosso    1m40.578s
18 BUEMI         Toro Rosso    1m40.896s
19 KOVALAINEN    Lotus         1m42.773s
20 TRULLI        Lotus         1m42.801s
21 GLOCK         Virgin        1m43.115s
22 DI GRASSI     Virgin        1m44.039s
23 YAMAMOTO      HRT           1m45.166s
24 SENNA         HRT           1m46.649s

Korea, 1st Free Practice (October 22nd)
1  HAMILTON      McLaren       1m40.887s
2  KUBICA        Renault       1m40.968s
3  ROSBERG       Mercedes      1m41.152s
4  VETTEL        Red Bull      1m41.371s
5  BUTTON        McLaren       1m41.940s
6  SCHUMACHER    Mercedes      1m42.022s
7  WEBBER        Red Bull      1m42.202s
8  HEIDFELD      Sauber        1m42.293s
9  HULKENBERG    Williams      1m42.678s
10 BARRICHELLO   Williams      1m42.883s
11 PETROV        Renault       1m42.896s
12 MASSA         Ferrari       1m43.054s
13 KOBAYASHI     Sauber        1m43.309s
14 SUTIL         Force India   1m43.602s
15 ALONSO        Ferrari       1m43.928s
16 BUEMI         Toro Rosso    1m43.940s
17 LIUZZI        Force India   1m44.887s
18 ALGUERSUARI   Toro Rosso    1m45.141s
19 GLOCK         Virgin        1m45.588s
20 D’AMBROSIO    Virgin        1m46.613s
21 KOVALAINEN    Lotus         1m47.115s
22 YAMAMOTO      HRT           1m50.347s
23 SENNA         HRT           1m50.821s
24 TRULLI        Lotus         1m51.701s

One thought on “2010 Korean Grand Prix (Yeongam, Round 17, October 22nd)

Leave a Reply