McLaren lead the way in first practice

2012 Japanese Grand Prix first practice

Jenson Button, McLaren, Suzuka, 2012The two McLaren drivers were quickest in the first practice session at Suzuka.

Lewis Hamilton was the first driver to set a timed lap and headed the times sheets early in the session. Several drivers came close to beating his effort and Mark Webber eventually did, edging the McLaren by five hundredths of a second.

The other McLaren of Jenson Button left it until later in the session before setting his first time. A 1’34.507 put him on top. Hamilton improved shortly afterwards to put McLaren first and second in the times.

Webber ended the session third-quickest following by Nico Rosberg. The Mercedes driver pulled to a stop in the Esses moments before the end of the session with an apparent technical problem.

Michael Schumacher moved up to fifth late in the session, making it four Mercedes-powered cars in the top five.

Both Sauber drivers near lost control of their cars during the session. Kamui Kobayashi, sixth, had a moment of oversteer at the exit of Spoon Curve while Sergio Perez, 12th, got onto the run-off at 130R.

Felipe Massa was fastest for Ferrari in seventh, followed by the Force India pair and Pastor Maldonado.

Giedo van der Garde made his second appearance in an F1 practice session for Caterham and ended the session 23rd, over a second off team mate Vitaly Petrov.

Pos. No. Driver Car Best lap Gap Laps
1 3 Jenson Button McLaren-Mercedes 1’34.507 20
2 4 Lewis Hamilton McLaren-Mercedes 1’34.740 0.233 26
3 2 Mark Webber Red Bull-Renault 1’34.856 0.349 24
4 8 Nico Rosberg Mercedes 1’35.059 0.552 18
5 7 Michael Schumacher Mercedes 1’35.122 0.615 20
6 14 Kamui Kobayashi Sauber-Ferrari 1’35.199 0.692 27
7 6 Felipe Massa Ferrari 1’35.283 0.776 24
8 11 Paul di Resta Force India-Mercedes 1’35.299 0.792 18
9 12 Nico Hulkenberg Force India-Mercedes 1’35.474 0.967 22
10 18 Pastor Maldonado Williams-Renault 1’35.478 0.971 24
11 5 Fernando Alonso Ferrari 1’35.484 0.977 26
12 15 Sergio Perez Sauber-Ferrari 1’35.584 1.077 24
13 9 Kimi Raikkonen Lotus-Renault 1’35.691 1.184 22
14 10 Romain Grosjean Lotus-Renault 1’35.724 1.217 21
15 16 Daniel Ricciardo Toro Rosso-Ferrari 1’36.123 1.616 19
16 17 Jean-Eric Vergne Toro Rosso-Ferrari 1’36.222 1.715 25
17 1 Sebastian Vettel Red Bull-Renault 1’36.366 1.859 23
18 19 Valtteri Bottas Williams-Renault 1’36.389 1.882 24
19 24 Timo Glock Marussia-Cosworth 1’37.716 3.209 17
20 21 Vitaly Petrov Caterham-Renault 1’38.295 3.788 23
21 25 Charles Pic Marussia-Cosworth 1’38.616 4.109 25
22 23 Narain Karthikeyan HRT-Cosworth 1’39.043 4.536 25
23 20 Giedo van der Garde Caterham-Renault 1’39.374 4.867 22
24 22 Pedro de la Rosa HRT-Cosworth 1’39.688 5.181 19

2012 Japanese Grand Prix

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21 comments on McLaren lead the way in first practice

  1. Eggry (@eggry) said on 5th October 2012, 3:36

    yet it’s just a practice, Mclaren looks good. Ferrari doesn’t. Revival of Mercedes?

    • raymondu999 (@raymondu999) said on 5th October 2012, 3:43

      @eggry Let’s wait until FP2 to see any conclusions. I’m not convinced Ferrari is that bad, nor am I convinced that Mercedes is that good.

      In the meantime I’ll be plugging numbers into a spreadsheet and trying to fit a tyre and fuel deg model to it…

      • Eggry (@eggry) said on 5th October 2012, 3:45

        @raymondu999 I hope you’re right. at least They should be in front of Mercedes and Lotus to compete with Red Bull and Mclaren. It would be pleasure if they’re 2nd fastest car.

        • raymondu999 (@raymondu999) said on 5th October 2012, 3:51

          In front of Mercedes I agree. In front of Lotus… not too sure. The Lotus is mighty in quick corners, especially on race pace. As is, for that matter, Sauber/Williams. I could definitely see the Ferrari being 3rd quickest this weekend (behind RBR/McLaren) or perhaps 4th (behind a red herring in one of Lotus/Sauber/Williams

    • Ella (@ella) said on 5th October 2012, 3:47

      It’s early to make conclusions and although I don’t think Ferrari are a second off the pace, it’s pretty plain to see they won’t be fighting for pole this weekend. Or any weekend after this, I’m presuming.

      Not sure about Mercedes really – they’ve looked good in FP1 before only to disappoint when it matters. I’d love to see Schumi on the podium one last time before he retires (again).

      • Mercedes looked dominant in Monza’s FP1 as well….besides,the gap from P3-7 appears to be quite small,so a few setup changes could go a long way. And Lotus,for all their much-hyped about double DRS were behind Ferrari this morning. They seem to be falling behind at a dreadful rate…

  2. Oblong_Cheese (@oblong_cheese) said on 5th October 2012, 3:45

    I want Webber to blitz the field this race.

  3. carlos (@mexicof1team) said on 5th October 2012, 3:53

    All Mercedes engines are in the top 10

    • Coanda (@ming-mong) said on 5th October 2012, 3:56

      Yeah and good to see F.I. come on strong in the last handful of races.

      • raymondu999 (@raymondu999) said on 5th October 2012, 4:07

        Agreed. If fp1 is taken at face value then things are very good for them – much better than I ever anticipated. I think we should look out for Hulkenberg. He’s going to be looking to bounce back from Paul’s result in Singapore. Suzuka is similar to Spa after a fashion, so he could be on for a good showing.

        • Kimi4WDC said on 5th October 2012, 4:10

          Another race for Kimi behind Force India or Mercedes is they fail to qualify good.

          • raymondu999 (@raymondu999) said on 5th October 2012, 4:17

            Yeah, I don’t think your handle will come true anymore, unfortunately! If he is to win the title he’ll need victories. And with him failing to do so at Spa (Spa!) all bets are off.

  4. Jay Menon (@jaymenon10) said on 5th October 2012, 4:09

    Looks like Narain has picked up his pace really well…he was consistently faster that DLR during the session. Good to see him doing well, hopefully he does a good qualy tomorrow and gets a good break or two during the race.

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