Sebastian Vettel, Red Bull, Suzuka, 2011

McLaren fastest as Vettel goes off in first practice

2011 Japanese GP first practicePosted on | Author Keith Collantine

Sebastian Vettel, Red Bull, Suzuka, 2011
Vettel crashed at the end of the first session

Jenson Button and Lewis Hamilton topped the times after the first practice session at Suzuka.

Hamilton headed the times initially before Button pegged him back with a lap of 1’33.648, less than a tenth of a second faster than his team mate.

With the teams using just one set of tyres there were few improvements later in the session and the McLaren duo remained on top of the times.

One driver who did improve his time was Sebastian Vettel, who took third with a 1’34.090. The Red Bull driver was seen tackling the high-speed 130R without closing his DRS early in the session.

Button found 0.014s with his final lap of the session to cement his place at the top of the times.

But Vettel’s final effort did not go according to plan. He took to the run-off at Degner 2, ploughed through the gravel and reached the barrier at low speed.

Fernando Alonso was fourth for Ferrari ahead of the second Red Bull of Mark Webber.

Pastor Maldonado’s session came to an early end when he went off at turn six. He rejoined the track but pulled over shortly afterwards.

The Toro Rosso pair showed good early pace, Jaime Alguersuari taking sixth, Sebastien Buemi eighth, with Felipe Massa in between them.

Michael Schumacher and Vitaly Petrov completed the top ten.

The Renault driver was running the regular specification bodywork on his car while team mate Bruno Senna evaluated the latest upgrade. He was 11th, a tenth of a second off his team mate.

Pos. Car Driver Car Best lap Gap Laps
1 4 Jenson Button McLaren-Mercedes 1’33.634 20
2 3 Lewis Hamilton McLaren-Mercedes 1’33.725 0.091 18
3 1 Sebastian Vettel Red Bull-Renault 1’34.090 0.456 22
4 5 Fernando Alonso Ferrari 1’34.372 0.738 25
5 2 Mark Webber Red Bull-Renault 1’34.426 0.792 25
6 19 Jaime Alguersuari Toro Rosso-Ferrari 1’34.937 1.303 23
7 6 Felipe Massa Ferrari 1’35.585 1.951 27
8 18 Sebastien Buemi Toro Rosso-Ferrari 1’35.590 1.956 25
9 7 Michael Schumacher Mercedes 1’36.033 2.399 22
10 10 Vitaly Petrov Renault 1’36.370 2.736 18
11 9 Bruno Senna Renault 1’36.487 2.853 18
12 14 Nico Hulkenberg Force India-Mercedes 1’36.700 3.066 21
13 16 Kamui Kobayashi Sauber-Ferrari 1’36.948 3.314 24
14 15 Paul di Resta Force India-Mercedes 1’36.949 3.315 22
15 17 Sergio Perez Sauber-Ferrari 1’37.103 3.469 29
16 8 Nico Rosberg Mercedes 1’38.197 4.563 18
17 11 Rubens Barrichello Williams-Cosworth 1’38.331 4.697 11
18 12 Pastor Maldonado Williams-Cosworth 1’38.446 4.812 8
19 21 Jarno Trulli Lotus-Renault 1’39.168 5.534 10
20 20 Karun Chandhok Lotus-Renault 1’39.946 6.312 22
21 24 Timo Glock Virgin-Cosworth 1’40.872 7.238 13
22 25 Jerome D’Ambrosio Virgin-Cosworth 1’41.019 7.385 24
23 22 Daniel Ricciardo HRT-Cosworth 1’41.106 7.472 25
24 23 Narain Karthikeyan HRT-Cosworth 1’41.775 8.141 25

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