Free Practice 1
Mark Webber set the quickest time in the opening practice session this morning in Melbourne.
In cool and overcast conditions, the Australian set a best of 1:26.831 at the tail of the session, some three-tenths quicker than teammate Sebastian Vettel.
Fernando Alonso took 3rd, albeit one second off the pace. The Spaniard clocked up 20 laps in his new Ferrari with no problems.
Admittedly, teams were unlike to be chasing lap times, as they bed in the new Pirelli tyres and run the Drag Reduction System (DRS) in anger; however it may be seen as first blood to Red Bull at this early stage.
Nico Rosberg (Mercedes) and Rubens Barrichello (Williams) were next up, with the McLaren of Jenson Button in 6th. Lewis Hamilton was just four-hundredths of-a-second shy of his teammate in 7th place. Despite being 1.6 seconds off of Webber’s pace, the McLaren pair may take some solace from running 55 laps between them.
Michael Schumacher (Mercedes), Kamui Kobayashi (Sauber) and Vitaly Petrov (Renault) rounded out the top-ten, although it was not plain sailing for the Sauber driver – his engine cover flew off the car spraying debris over the back straight with a few minutes remaining.
Ferrari’s Felipe Massa (11th) set the first timed lap of the day, but followed that up with a slide off circuit due to an open DRS in the braking of turn 3 – a feat repeated by Adrian Sutil (13th, Force India).
Daniel Ricciardo (16th) sat in for Jaime Alguersuari at Toro Rosso, while Nico Hulkenberg (18th) took Paul di Resta’s Force India seat.
New Lotus signing, Karun Chandhok ran the first practice in place of Jarno Trulli; however the Indian suffered an embarrassing crash three corners in, ripping off the front wing and damaging the right rear.
Virgin’s Timo Glock suffered gearbox issues, losing the first half of the morning session as a result. Both he and new teammate, Jerome d’Ambrosio set worrying times, some 8.4 seconds slower than Webber.
Neither Hispania ventured out on track and may not run today at all.
Pos Driver Team Time Laps 1. Webber Red Bull-Renault 1m26.831s + 20 2. Vettel Red Bull-Renault 1m27.158s + 0.327 19 3. Alonso Ferrari 1m27.749s + 0.918 20 4. Rosberg Mercedes 1m28.152s + 1.321 16 5. Barrichello Williams-Cosworth 1m28.430s + 1.599 24 6. Button McLaren-Mercedes 1m28.440s + 1.609 29 7. Hamilton McLaren-Mercedes 1m28.483s + 1.652 26 8. Schumacher Mercedes 1m28.690s + 1.859 14 9. Kobayashi Sauber-Ferrari 1m28.725s + 1.894 13 10. Petrov Renault 1m28.765s + 1.93 15 11. Massa Ferrari 1m28.842s + 2.011 20 12. Heidfeld Renault 1m28.928s + 2.097 14 13. Sutil Force India-Mercedes 1m29.314s + 2.483 19 14. Buemi Toro Rosso-Ferrari 1m29.328s + 2.497 21 15. Maldonado Williams-Cosworth 1m29.403s + 2.572 24 16. Ricciardo Toro Rosso-Ferrari 1m29.468s + 2.637 23 17. Perez Sauber-Ferrari 1m29.643s + 2.812 18 18. Hulkenberg Force India-Mercedes 1m31.002s + 4.171 20 19. Kovalainen Lotus-Cosworth 1m32.428s + 5.597 13 20. d'Ambrosio Virgin-Cosworth 1m35.282s + 8.451 17 21. Glock Virgin-Cosworth 1m35.289s + 8.458 15 22. Chandhok Lotus-Cosworth no time 1 23. Liuzzi HRT-Cosworth no time 24. Karthikeyan HRT-Cosworth no time