Australian GP practice one analysis

Posted on | Author Keith Collantine

Ferrari's long-run pace looks good once again
Ferrari's long-run pace looks good once again

While Robert Kubica topped the times in free practice one Ferrari once again look to have good long-run pace.

And at this early stage it looks as though McLaren might have found a better set-up for Melbourne than they had at Bahrain. Take a closer look at the lap times from free practice one below.

Reading practice session times at Melbourne is especially difficult because of how much the track changes throughout the weekend. The track surface gets cleaner and much grippier as more rubber is laid down through the practice sessions and the race.

The fastest time in this morning’s practice session by Robert Kubica was 0.3s off Nico Rosberg’s best time in the same session last year. In qualifying last year the cars were lapping around two seconds quicker.

To the best of my knowledge all the cars in today’s first practice session used the hard compounds tyres rather than the softs.

McLaren, Red Bull, Ferrari and Mercedes

FP1 Lap times: McLaren, Mercedes, Red Bull, Ferrari
FP1 Lap times: McLaren, Mercedes, Red Bull, Ferrari

McLaren set quick times early on but it looks like they were doing work on higher fuel loads later in the session.

Similarly Ferrari seem to have not bothered trying for a low-fuel time while the track was still very ‘green’ and concentrated on stints instead. Remember they didn’t show their hand until FP3 at Bahrain.

Felipe Massa had good, consistent pace at the end of the session. But Fernando Alonso, who was trying a new front wing, saw his run disrupted by the second red flag of the day.

The Mercedes drivers generally did shorter runs but the large gap between their best times – Nico Rosberg 1.4 seconds quicker than Michael Schumacher – suggests they were working on quite difference programmes

Renault, Force India, Sauber, Williams and Toro Rosso

FP1 Lap times: Force India, Renault, Williams, Sauber, Toro Rosso
FP1 Lap times: Force India, Renault, Williams, Sauber, Toro Rosso

Robert Kubica set the fastest time of the session and it came as part of a five-lap stint. He’d done his best time earlier as part of a longer stint as well and although we can’t be sure of his fuel load it’s an encouraging sign that Renault are heading in the right direction.

Paul di Resta was generally within range of team mate Vitantonio Liuzzi on his first appearance for Force India. But will missing the first practice session have a negative effect on Adrian Sutil’s performance? He’ll be back in the number 14 car for free practice two.

Sauber’s session was more about reliability problems than lap times. Curiously the Williams pair appeared a long way down the fastest times sheets and some way off even the Toro Rossos, which were the slowest of the established runners in Bahrain. FP2 should give us some more clues how much of that was down to fuel.

Virgin, Lotus and HRT

FP1 Lap times: Lotus, Virgin, HRT
FP1 Lap times: Lotus, Virgin, HRT

After their ‘test session’ appearance at Bahrain it appears as though HRT are closing the gap to the other two new teams.

Timo Glock’s Virgin was slowed by reliability problems and at this early stage Lotus appear to have stolen a march on their rivals.

Top 50 lap times

Rank Driver Lap time Lap
1 Robert Kubica 86.927 17
2 Nico Rosberg 87.126 13
3 Robert Kubica 87.249 16
4 Robert Kubica 87.327 15
5 Jenson Button 87.482 9
6 Felipe Massa 87.511 17
7 Robert Kubica 87.582 10
8 Nico Rosberg 87.659 9
9 Sebastian Vettel 87.686 23
10 Fernando Alonso 87.747 21
11 Lewis Hamilton 87.793 10
12 Jenson Button 87.798 7
13 Robert Kubica 87.844 9
14 Felipe Massa 87.868 14
15 Sebastian Vettel 87.891 10
16 Fernando Alonso 87.919 19
17 Felipe Massa 87.938 15
18 Sebastien Buemi 88.014 19
19 Sebastian Vettel 88.045 17
20 Sebastian Vettel 88.049 22
21 Felipe Massa 88.058 13
22 Vitaly Petrov 88.114 25
23 Vitantonio Liuzzi 88.192 18
24 Sebastien Buemi 88.294 15
25 Sebastian Vettel 88.342 16
26 Nico Rosberg 88.357 8
27 Felipe Massa 88.448 11
28 Sebastien Buemi 88.462 17
29 Vitantonio Liuzzi 88.481 16
30 Paul di Resta 88.537 25
31 Michael Schumacher 88.55 12
32 Jaime Alguersuari 88.572 17
33 Vitantonio Liuzzi 88.581 12
34 Vitaly Petrov 88.592 18
35 Robert Kubica 88.63 7
36 Vitaly Petrov 88.644 17
37 Michael Schumacher 88.659 8
38 Fernando Alonso 88.662 13
39 Lewis Hamilton 88.68 6
40 Mark Webber 88.683 9
41 Felipe Massa 88.718 7
42 Nico Rosberg 88.759 12
43 Paul di Resta 88.797 20
44 Sebastien Buemi 88.832 14
45 Sebastian Vettel 88.842 7
46 Fernando Alonso 88.871 9
47 Jaime Alguersuari 88.933 16
48 Mark Webber 88.968 20
49 Sebastian Vettel 89.12 15
50 Mark Webber 89.147 21

2010 Australian Grand Prix
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