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