Robert Kubica put Renault at the top of the times sheets at the end of free practice one for the Australian Grand Prix.
But Sauber suffered a difficult session. Kamui Kobayashi suffered two broken front wings which caused a pair session stoppages and Pedro de la Rosa’s car rolled to a halt with ten minutes left on the clock.
Kobayashi’s first problem was self-inflicted as he clouted the cone on the inside of turn 12, breaking his front wing. This brought the red flags out around 40 minutes into the session while the debris was retrieved.
But when Kobayashi returned to the track after the session restarted his front wing collapsed on the approach to turn three and he was lucky to stop without hitting anything. This caused the second stoppage of the session.
In between the disruptions the McLaren duo made the early running, trading fastest times.
Jenson Button eventually set the third-fastest time behind Kubica and Nico Rosberg, who was the quicker of the Mercedes drivers once again.
Traffic seemed to be more of a problem at the Albert Park circuit and could play a significant role during qualifying.
Some drivers also struggled with the new combination kerb at turn nine, where Heikki Kovalainen and Vitaly Petrov both spun.
Paul di Resta was 11th in his first official F1 practice session appearance for Force India, 0.3s slower than team mate Vitantonio Liuzzi.
Timo Glock was the slowest of the runners after suffering more problems in his Virgin. There have been fresh reports that the team need to modify the rear of their car because their fuel tank isn’t large enough.
|5||5||Sebastian Vettel||Red Bull-Renault||1’27.686||0.759||23|
|8||16||Sebastien Buemi||Toro Rosso-Ferrari||1’28.014||1.087||21|
|10||15||Vitantonio Liuzzi||Force India-Mercedes||1’28.192||1.265||18|
|11||14||Paul di Resta||Force India-Mercedes||1’28.537||1.61||25|
|13||17||Jaime Alguersuari||Toro Rosso-Ferrari||1’28.572||1.645||21|
|14||6||Mark Webber||Red Bull-Renault||1’28.683||1.756||22|
|15||22||Pedro de la Rosa||Sauber-Ferrari||1’29.465||2.538||13|
|21||25||Lucas di Grassi||Virgin-Cosworth||1’32.831||5.904||25|
Image (C) Force India F1 Team