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
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
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
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
|30||Paul di Resta||88.537||25|
|43||Paul di Resta||88.797||20|
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