Hamilton quickest in FP1 despite running fewest laps

2012 Bahrain Grand Prix second practice

Lewis Hamilton, McLaren, Bahrain, 2012McLaren’s Lewis Hamilton has set the early pace in first practice ahead of this weekend’s Bahrain Grand Prix.

Hamilton completed only 11 laps of the Bahrain International Circuit, the fewest of anyone apart from former team mate Heikki Kovalainen in the Caterham.

Red Bull’s Sebastian Vettel was second fastest, three tenths slower than Hamilton, while Paul di Resta was third fastest in his Force India after being the only driver to set his personal best with the quicker Soft compound.

Chinese Grand Prix winner Nico Rosberg was fourth fastest, followed by Jenson Button, Nico H?â??lkenberg, Michael Schumacher and Mark Webber – who were all within a second of Hamilton’s time.

Ferrari will be hoping to find more speed from the F2012 over the course of the weekend, as Malaysian GP winner Fernando Alonso was almost two seconds off the ultimate pace in 13th after suffering from visible oversteer.

As to be expected, it was a hot and dusty start to the weekend with air temperature reaching?é?á 28?é??C and track temperature even warmer at 38?é??C.

The sandy surface meant that there was little activity at the start of the session, outside of the usual installation laps, with the bigger teams happy to wait until the track surface had been cleaned by other cars before venturing out onto the circuit.

The Force India team of Nico H?â??lkenberg and Paul di Resta were the first drivers to set representative times, both posting 1’35s on the harder Medium compound.

That was soon bettered by the Lotus pair of Romain Grosjean and Kimi Raikkonen, who lowered the benchmark to the high 1’34s.

With just over half of the session to go, the front runners began to leave the pit lane. Sebastian Vettel was the first to break the 1’34 barrier with a 1’33.877, before Lewis Hamilton bettered the reigning world champion by three tenths. That proved to be the fastest lap of the session.

In the final ten minutes, Force India took the decision to run both their cars on the Soft Pirelli compound, with di Resta setting the third fastest time with a 1’34.150.

The 90?é?? left-hander of Turn 10 proved tricky for some drivers in the opening session. Grosjean, Sauber’s Kamui Kobayashi, Mark Webber and the Mercedes pair of Rosberg and Schumacher all locking up into the difficult braking zone.

Team radio suggested that di Resta was suffering from an intermittent KERS problem during the session, while Timo Glock had a brief spin at Turn 1 in his Marussia near the end of the session.

Pos. No. Driver Car Best lap Gap Laps
1 4 Lewis Hamilton McLaren 1’33.572 11
2 1 Sebastian Vettel Red Bull 1’33.877 +0.305 21
3 11 Paul di Resta Force India 1’34.150 +0.578 26
4 8 Nico Rosberg Mercedes 1’34.249 +0.677 23
5 3 Jenson Button McLaren 1’34.277 +0.705 14
6 12 Nico H?â??lkenberg Force India 1’34.322 +0.772 26
7 7 Michael Schumacher Mercedes 1’34.483 +0.911 17
8 2 Mark Webber Red Bull 1’34.522 +0.980 22
9 9 Kimi Raikkonen Lotus 1’34.609 +1.037 18
10 10 Romain Grosjean Lotus 1’34.847 +1.275 20
11 15 Sergio Perez Sauber 1’35.024 +1.452 22
12 18 Pastor Maldonado Williams 1’35.268 +1.696 25
13 5 Fernando Alonso Ferrari 1’35.436 +1.864 21
14 19 Valtteri Bottas Williams 1’35.497 +1.925 24
15 6 Felipe Massa Ferrari 1’35.719 +2.147 19
16 14 Kamui Kobayashi Sauber 1’35.929 +2.357 24
17 17 Jean-Eric Vergne Toro Rosso 1’36.195 +2.623 20
18 20 Heikki Kovalainen Caterham 1’36.330 +2.758 11
19 21 Vitaly Petrov Caterham 1’36.484 +2.912 18
20 16 Daniel Ricciardo Toro Rosso 1’36.591 +3.019 20
21 25 Charles Pic Marussia 1’37.467 +3.895 18
22 24 Timo Glock Marussia 1’38.006 +4.434 18
23 22 Pedro de la Rosa HRT 1’38.877 +5.305 19
24 23 Narain Karthikeyan HRT 1’39.996 +6.424 23

2012 Bahrain Grand Prix


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21 comments on Hamilton quickest in FP1 despite running fewest laps

  1. AndrewTanner (@andrewtanner) said on 20th April 2012, 13:45

    @willwood @magnificent-geoffrey Pretty shoddy reporting!

    I jest, it’s good, reads well!

    Karthikeyan always seems so horrifically off the pace during FP sessions, even more so than the race and qualifying. What’s that all about? Do they use the drivers for two completely different exploration strategies?

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