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2011 Chinese Grand Prix (Rd 3, Free Practice 1, April 15th)

April 18, 2011

Creative Commons / Will Pittenger

Free Practice 1
Sebastian Vettel set the quickest time in Friday’s first practice session for the Chinese Grand Prix.

The reigning champion set his quickest lap of 1:38.739 – some six tenths quicker than Red Bull teammate Mark Webber after a 23 lap run. Webber put in several more laps, showing some solid long run pace; however – as in Australia and Malaysia – the Australia suffered from KERS problems.

The McLaren pairing of Lewis Hamilton and Jenson Button were next up on the timing sheet, albeit over two seconds off the leading pace. Both had offs during the session; yet neither were as dramatic as Nick Heidfeld’s practice ending slip up.
The German veteran slid off on the exit of turn ten, pitching the Renault into the barrier head on. With wing and suspension damage, Heidfeld’s morning was over early – he would eventually claim 5th position.
Down in 10th place was Williams’ Pastor Maldonado. The Venezuelan also suffered from a spin during the session, although his was a gentler slide as his Pirelli’s gave up their life after a long run.
Both Sauber’s had vastly different stints – Sergio Perez (7th) ran new bodywork components, while Kamui Kobayashi (14th) tried a new exhaust layout.

Luiz Razia’s practice was brief. The Lotus reserve sat in for Jarno Trulli, but a suspension failure at the midpoint tore off his front wing, ending the day for the Italian in 23rd. Razia’s teammate, Heikki Kovalainen completed thirteen laps to get 14th spot, but did so with a lighter pocket – the Finn sped through the pitlane just after the session started, earning him a €2,700 fine.
A hydraulic problem stopped Vitantonio Liuzzi’s running right at the death – the Hispania pilot secured 21st after eighteen laps in the F111 machine.

Pos Driver Team Time Laps
 1.  Sebastian Vettel      Red Bull-Renault       1m38.739s		23
 2.  Mark Webber           Red Bull-Renault       1m39.354s   + 0.615   27
 3.  Lewis Hamilton        McLaren-Mercedes       1m40.845s   + 2.106   21
 4.  Jenson Button         McLaren-Mercedes       1m40.940s   + 2.201   22
 5.  Nick Heidfeld         Renault                1m40.987s   + 2.248   5
 6.  Felipe Massa          Ferrari                1m41.046s   + 2.307   25
 7.  Sergio Perez          Sauber-Ferrari         1m41.189s   + 2.450   20
 8.  Pastor Maldonado      Williams-Cosworth      1m41.222s   + 2.483   20
 9.  Vitaly Petrov         Renault                1m41.231s   + 2.492   16
10.  Sebastien Buemi       Toro Rosso-Ferrari     1m41.328s   + 2.589   21
11.  Nico Rosberg          Mercedes               1m41.361s   + 2.622   23
12.  Fernando Alonso       Ferrari                1m41.434s   + 2.695   15
13.  Nico Hulkenberg       Force India-Mercedes   1m41.494s   + 2.755   20
14.  Heikki Kovalainen     Lotus-Renault          1m41.579s   + 2.840   13
15.  Paul di Resta         Force India-Mercedes   1m41.610s   + 2.871   18
16.  Daniel Ricciardo      Toro Rosso-Ferrari     1m41.752s   + 3.013   20
17.  Rubens Barrichello    Williams-Cosworth      1m41.939s   + 3.200   25
18.  Michael Schumacher    Mercedes               1m42.301s   + 3.562   23
19.  Kamui Kobayashi       Sauber-Ferrari         1m43.792s   + 5.053   20
20.  Jerome D'Ambrosio     Virgin-Cosworth        1m44.089s   + 5.350   20
21.  Tonio Liuzzi          HRT-Cosworth           1m44.359s   + 5.620   18
22.  Timo Glock            Virgin-Cosworth        1m44.438s   + 5.699   11
23.  Luiz Razia            Lotus-Renault          1m44.542s   + 5.803    9
24.  Narain Karthikeyan    HRT-Cosworth           1m45.019s   + 6.280   23

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