2011 Spanish Grand Prix (Rd 5, Free Practice 1, May 20th)

© Creative Commons / Will Pittenger

Mark Webber topped the first free practice session ahead of Sunday’s Spanish Grand Prix.

The Red Bull pilot set his best during a 27 lap session that saw him a clear one second quicker than his nearest rival and teammate, Sebastian Vettel.
While Webber’s best time of 1:25.142 set him apart from the pack, it gave an indication that the Red Bull pairing may have been splitting strategies, with the reigning champion concentrating on race set-ups. Vettel was also handicapped for much of the session thanks to an inactive KERS.

Mercedes’ Nico Rosberg finished the session 3rd, one-tenth shy of Vettel. Rosberg’s veteran teammate, Michael Schumacher, took 7th, with a best of 1:27.016 after a 32 lap morning – the silver pair squeezed Fernando Alonso (4th, Ferrari), Sergio Perez (5th, Sauber) and Lewis Hamilton (6th, McLaren).

Several teams brought large aerodynamic updates to the track, including McLaren, Force India and Lotus. Both Virgin and Williams arrived with modified floors and exhausts, while Hispania ran practice with several new aerodynamic pieces. It is a first for the tiny squad, who ran with the same version car all through 2010; however Hispania broke the curfew as they rushed to fix the new parts onto the F1-11.
Pirelli also brought delivered a new hard compound tyre. The Italian company modified the compound to last longer, in order to give teams more scope for race strategy.

Renault’s Vitaly Petrov secured 11th, minus the use of his KERS, losing a-tenth to his team mate, Nick Heidfeld (8th).
Toro Rosso’s under pressure racer, Jaime Alguersuari only managed nine laps, before an engine installation problem stopped his morning prematurely – he assumed 18th spot, some 1.5 seconds and six position shy of reserve pilot, Daniel Ricciardo.

Pastor Maldonado also got limited running due to an error in the latter half of the session. The Venezuelan suffered a slow speed off at the tight turn ten right-hander, leaving his Williams FW33 beached in the gravel. It left Maldonado classified 13th; eight-tenths shy of fellow Williams runner, Rubens Barrichello (10th).
Nico Hulkenberg sat in for Paul di Resta at Force India. The young German drove opposite his stressed teammate, Adrian Sutil, with Hulkenberg pipping Sutil to a better lap as the clock stopped.

Pos Driver Team Time Laps
 1.  Mark Webber           Red Bull-Renault      1m25.142s    	     27
 2.  Sebastian Vettel      Red Bull-Renault      1m26.149s  + 1.007  20
 3.  Nico Rosberg          Mercedes              1m26.379s  + 1.237  29
 4.  Fernando Alonso       Ferrari               1m26.480s  + 1.338  27
 5.  Sergio Perez          Sauber-Ferrari        1m26.738s  + 1.596  26
 6.  Lewis Hamilton        McLaren-Mercedes      1m26.988s  + 1.846  19
 7.  Michael Schumacher    Mercedes              1m27.016s  + 1.874  32
 8.  Nick Heidfeld         Renault               1m27.132s  + 1.990  21
 9.  Jenson Button         McLaren-Mercedes      1m27.138s  + 1.996  22
10.  Rubens Barrichello    Williams-Cosworth     1m27.212s  + 2.070  20
11.  Vitaly Petrov         Renault               1m27.241s  + 2.099  22
12.  Daniel Ricciardo      Toro Rosso-Ferrari    1m27.471s  + 2.329  23
13.  Pastor Maldonado      Williams-Cosworth     1m28.005s  + 2.863  11
14.  Nico Hulkenberg       Force India-Mercedes  1m28.027s  + 2.885  26
15.  Adrian Sutil          Force India-Mercedes  1m28.163s  + 3.021  22
16.  Felipe Massa          Ferrari               1m28.654s  + 3.512  28
17.  Kamui Kobayashi       Sauber-Ferrari        1m28.819s  + 3.677  23
18.  Jaime Alguersuari     Toro Rosso-Ferrari    1m28.995s  + 3.853  9
19.  Heikki Kovalainen     Lotus-Renault         1m29.231s  + 4.089  21
20.  Jerome D'Ambrosio     Virgin-Cosworth       1m30.896s  + 5.754  18
21.  Timo Glock            Virgin-Cosworth       1m31.235s  + 6.093  24
22.  Tonio Liuzzi          HRT-Cosworth          1m31.268s  + 6.126  23
23.  Jarno Trulli          Lotus-Renault         1m31.418s  + 6.276  12
24.  Narain Karthikeyan    HRT-Cosworth          1m32.106s  + 6.964  25

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