Lewis Hamilton set the fastest time in first practice with his final lap of the session.
Fernando Alonso led the way for much of the 90 minutes before Hamilton took over shortly before the chequered flag.
Williams test driver Valtteri Bottas was the first driver to set a lap time on a visibly dusty and gripless track. Some drivers complained of tyre graining as they struggled to find traction, and the likes of Red Bull didn’t take to the circuit until the second half of the session.
In the meantime several drivers were struggling to keep their cars on the track. Sergio Perez had a high-speed off at turn 11 when he ran wide onto the kerb, kicking up a lot of dust.
Several other drivers had minor off-track moments including Pastor Maldonado and Felipe Massa.
Alonso led the times for most of the session. A 1’39.857 put his Ferrari comfortably on top and it took a while for anyone to get within a second of his time: Nico Rosberg the first driver to do so.
The Red Bulls eventually took to the track and Mark Webber moved into second, but Alonso improved his time further with a 1’39.450. Hamilton got much closer, moving up to second, 0.025s off the Ferrari.
Alonso returned to the track for a final run but couldn’t improve after locking his front-right tyre at turn three. He then took a lot of kerb at turn 14 and caught a high-speed slide.
The track continued to improve until the dying moments of the session, Felipe Massa setting the fastest time in the first sector with six minutes to go on 18-lap-old tyres.
With less than four minutes to go Hamilton took the fastest time off Alonso, lapping in 1’39.280. He continued to improve up until his final lap, ending the session on 1’39.148.
As the session ended the Red Bull drivers had a near miss as Webber, on a flying lap, caught Sebastian Vettel at turn 14, and had to back off.
|3||2||Mark Webber||Red Bull-Renault||1’39.575||0.427||21|
|5||1||Sebastian Vettel||Red Bull-Renault||1’40.088||0.940||21|
|9||11||Paul di Resta||Force India-Mercedes||1’40.440||1.292||19|
|13||12||Jules Bianchi||Force India-Mercedes||1’41.140||1.992||21|
|16||16||Daniel Ricciardo||Toro Rosso-Ferrari||1’41.596||2.448||23|
|17||17||Jean-Eric Vergne||Toro Rosso-Ferrari||1’42.021||2.873||25|
|22||21||Giedo van der Garde||Caterham-Renault||1’42.820||3.672||19|
|23||22||Pedro de la Rosa||HRT-Cosworth||1’44.517||5.369||23|
2012 Korean Grand Prix
- Alonso: ‘We’re fighting against Newey’
- Vettel earns Driver of the Weekend for Korea win
- Korean Grand Prix gets lowest rating of season so far
- F1 fans’ videos from the 2012 Korean Grand Prix
- Korea “most disappointing race” this year for Williams
Image ?é?® Korean GP/Sutton