2011 Turkish Grand Prix (Rd 4, Free Practice 1, May 6th)

© Creative Commons / Will Pittenger

Ferrari’s Fernando Alonso topped what was a very wet and windy first practice session in Istanbul yesterday morning.

The Spaniard set a best lap of 1:38.670, some 1.4 seconds quicker than the Mercedes pair Nico Rosberg and Michael Schumacher.
Alonso clocked up thirteen laps in the sodden conditions, giving he – and the rest of the field – some precious running on wet and intermediate tyres.
Those that committed any significant track time noted a the wet tyres suffered a similar drop off to Pirelli’s dry rubber.

Rosberg and Schumacher led the Nick Heidfeld (4th) and Vitaly Petrov (5th) on the sheets, albeit three-tenths adrift of the silver machines. Sauber’s Kamui Kobayashi filled out the top-six.

Both Red Bull and Virgin brought upgrades to Turkey, although with the conditions as the were, little information would have been gathered.
Backmarkers Virgin delivered a new nose section, floor, exhaust and diffuser to Istanbul to help lift them of the bottom of the sheets. Timo Glock and Jerome d’Ambrosio finished the session in 18th and 19th respectively, but little meaning can be assumed from this result.

Red Bull fitted a new rear wing section for Mark Webber and Sebastian Vettel, although neither completed many laps with the new parts. Webber ran five laps on the wet tyre, while Vettel took to the intermediate rubber.
It would bite the German hard during the session. Exiting turn 8, Vettel placed one wheel on the slick kerbs, pitching him into a meeting with the barriers and bringing out a short-lived red flag.

Unsurprisingly, the session was littered with spins and aquaplaning cars – most were harmless, except for Williams’ Pastor Maldonado who slid helplessly into the barriers at the tail of the session.

At Hispania, Narain Karthikeyan lost much of the session due to a mechanical issue as the morning started. He would get out eventually, setting eight laps, nearly ten seconds off of Alonso’s ultimate lap.

Pos Driver Team Time Laps
 1.  Fernando Alonso       Ferrari                1m38.670s            13
 2.  Nico Rosberg          Mercedes               1m40.072s  + 1.402   14
 3.  Michael Schumacher    Mercedes               1m40.132s  + 1.462   18
 4.  Nick Heidfeld         Renault                1m40.338s  + 1.668    9
 5.  Vitaly Petrov         Renault                1m40.401s  + 1.731   10
 6.  Kamui Kobayashi       Sauber-Ferrari         1m40.421s  + 1.751   16
 7.  Felipe Massa          Ferrari                1m40.697s  + 2.027   14
 8.  Daniel Ricciardo      Toro Rosso-Ferrari     1m41.094s  + 2.424   18
 9.  Sebastien Buemi       Toro Rosso-Ferrari     1m41.178s  + 2.508   22
10.  Nico Hulkenberg       Force India-Mercedes   1m41.347s  + 2.677   16
11.  Mark Webber           Red Bull-Renault       1m42.564s  + 3.894    5
12.  Pastor Maldonado      Williams-Cosworth      1m42.597s  + 3.927    7
13.  Paul di Resta         Force India-Mercedes   1m43.525s  + 4.855   11
14.  Rubens Barrichello    Williams-Cosworth      1m43.913s  + 5.243    5
15.  Karun Chandhok        Lotus-Renault          1m43.986s  + 5.316    6
16.  Tonio Liuzzi          HRT-Cosworth           1m44.787s  + 6.117   20
17.  Sebastian Vettel      Red Bull-Renault       1m44.954s  + 6.284    4
18.  Timo Glock            Virgin-Cosworth        1m45.183s  + 6.513   15
19.  Jerome D'Ambrosio     Virgin-Cosworth        1m45.237s  + 6.567   11
20.  Narain Karthikeyan    HRT-Cosworth           1m48.461s  + 9.791    8
21.  Jarno Trulli          Lotus-Renault          1m51.676s  + 13.006   6
22.  Sergio Perez          Sauber-Ferrari         1m55.791s  + 17.121  13
23.  Jenson Button         McLaren-Mercedes       2m00.666s  + 21.996   4
24.  Lewis Hamilton        McLaren-Mercedes       no time               1

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