Sebastian Vettel, Red Bull, Valencia, 2012

Maldonado heads close first session in Valencia

2012 European Grand Prix first practicePosted on | Author Keith Collantine

Sebastian Vettel, Red Bull, Valencia, 2012Pastor Maldonado led a tightly-bunched field in the first practice session for the European Grand Prix.

The top nine drivers ended the session covered by less than three-tenths of a second.

Both Red Bull drivers were within a tenth of a second off Maldonado when the chequered flag fell, Sebastian Vettel (pictured) ahead of Mark Webber.

Jenson Button seemed happier with the performance of his McLaren during the session, ending up 0.104s off Maldonado.

Home driver Fernando Alonso was fifth-quickest but angered Webber after holding up the Red Bull driver at the end of the lap later in the session.

Paul di Resta also featured in the close leading nine, joined by Michael Schumacher, Lewis Hamilton and Nico Rosberg.

The two Lotuses were tenth and eleventh, Kimi Raikkonen leading Romain Grosjean.

The first session was run in cooler-than-expected conditions, track temperature rising to 32C by the end of practice. Drivers continued to improve their sector times up until the dying moments.

Caterham showed some potential, Heikki Kovalainen lapping quicker than both Toro Rosso’s and just a tenth of a second off Williams test driver Valtteri Bottas.

A DRS problem for Pedro de la Rosa delayed him earlier in the session – the wing jammed open, as Michael Schumacher’s did in Canada.

Pos. No. Driver Car Best lap Gap Laps
1 18 Pastor Maldonado Williams-Renault 1’40.890 22
2 1 Sebastian Vettel Red Bull-Renault 1’40.973 0.083 21
3 2 Mark Webber Red Bull-Renault 1’40.984 0.094 19
4 3 Jenson Button McLaren-Mercedes 1’40.994 0.104 19
5 5 Fernando Alonso Ferrari 1’41.065 0.175 26
6 11 Paul di Resta Force India-Mercedes 1’41.105 0.215 15
7 7 Michael Schumacher Mercedes 1’41.117 0.227 22
8 4 Lewis Hamilton McLaren-Mercedes 1’41.158 0.268 18
9 8 Nico Rosberg Mercedes 1’41.182 0.292 21
10 9 Kimi Raikkonen Lotus-Renault 1’41.620 0.730 22
11 10 Romain Grosjean Lotus-Renault 1’41.784 0.894 15
12 14 Kamui Kobayashi Sauber-Ferrari 1’41.838 0.948 19
13 15 Sergio Perez Sauber-Ferrari 1’41.861 0.971 16
14 6 Felipe Massa Ferrari 1’42.109 1.219 20
15 12 Jules Bianchi Force India-Mercedes 1’42.175 1.285 21
16 19 Valtteri Bottas Williams-Renault 1’42.299 1.409 24
17 20 Heikki Kovalainen Caterham-Renault 1’42.442 1.552 26
18 17 Jean-Eric Vergne Toro Rosso-Ferrari 1’42.758 1.868 27
19 16 Daniel Ricciardo Toro Rosso-Ferrari 1’42.777 1.887 28
20 21 Vitaly Petrov Caterham-Renault 1’43.209 2.319 19
21 25 Charles Pic Marussia-Cosworth 1’44.147 3.257 19
22 22 Pedro de la Rosa HRT-Cosworth 1’44.996 4.106 15
23 23 Narain Karthikeyan HRT-Cosworth 1’45.120 4.230 23
24 24 Timo Glock Marussia-Cosworth 1’45.338 4.448 7

2012 European Grand Prix

Browse all 2012 European Grand Prix articles

Image ?? Red Bull/Getty images