Vettel leads the way as practice begins in India

2012 Indian Grand Prix first practice

Sebastian Vettel, Red Bull, Buddh International Circuit, 2012Sebastian Vettel headed the first practice session at Buddh International Circuit.

The Red Bull driver was over three-tenths of a second faster than his closest rivals.

The session got off to a quiet start as drivers discovered the circuit was low on grip during their installation runs.

The Red Bull drivers didn’t set times until more than half the session had been completed. Mark Webber’s second effort was enough to put him quickest, and he later improved to a 1’28.229.

With just over a quarter of an hour left in the session Hamilton persuaded his engineer to let him do an extra lap at the end of his run, feeling there was more pace in the car. He turned out to be right, producing a 1’28.046 to top the times.

It didn’t take long for Red Bull to reassert themselves but this time it was Vettel on top, edging Hamilton’s time by a hundredth of a second.

With less than two minutes remaining Vettel stretched his advantage, setting a 1’27.619 to move four-tenths of a second clear of Alonso and Hamilton.

Button posted a late improvement with a 1’27.929 putting him in second place.

Nico Rosberg was sixth for Mercedes with Daniel Ricciardo’s Toro Rosso also appearing in the top ten.

Esteban Gutierrez took Sergio Perez’s place for the session as the Sauber driver is unwell. “This should help Sergio’s speedy recovery so he is able to drive for the remainder of the weekend,” the team said in a statement.

Gutierrez had a near-miss with the barrier at turn nine and ended the session 20th.

Pos. No. Driver Car Best lap Gap Laps
1 1 Sebastian Vettel Red Bull-Renault 1’27.619 22
2 3 Jenson Button McLaren-Mercedes 1’27.929 0.310 22
3 5 Fernando Alonso Ferrari 1’28.044 0.425 24
4 4 Lewis Hamilton McLaren-Mercedes 1’28.046 0.427 25
5 2 Mark Webber Red Bull-Renault 1’28.175 0.556 22
6 8 Nico Rosberg Mercedes 1’28.447 0.828 25
7 6 Felipe Massa Ferrari 1’28.542 0.923 24
8 7 Michael Schumacher Mercedes 1’28.993 1.374 23
9 16 Daniel Ricciardo Toro Rosso-Ferrari 1’29.204 1.585 24
10 9 Kimi Raikkonen Lotus-Renault 1’29.291 1.672 24
11 19 Valtteri Bottas Williams-Renault 1’29.691 2.072 26
12 11 Paul di Resta Force India-Mercedes 1’29.760 2.141 23
13 14 Kamui Kobayashi Sauber-Ferrari 1’29.802 2.183 18
14 12 Nico Hulkenberg Force India-Mercedes 1’29.850 2.231 19
15 10 Romain Grosjean Lotus-Renault 1’29.895 2.276 19
16 18 Pastor Maldonado Williams-Renault 1’30.041 2.422 26
17 17 Jean-Eric Vergne Toro Rosso-Ferrari 1’30.401 2.782 23
18 21 Vitaly Petrov Caterham-Renault 1’30.630 3.011 24
19 20 Giedo van der Garde Caterham-Renault 1’30.896 3.277 20
20 15 Esteban Gutierrez Sauber-Ferrari 1’31.212 3.593 29
21 25 Charles Pic Marussia-Cosworth 1’31.903 4.284 22
22 23 Narain Karthikeyan HRT-Cosworth 1’32.125 4.506 24
23 24 Timo Glock Marussia-Cosworth 1’32.369 4.750 19
24 22 Pedro de la Rosa HRT-Cosworth 1’32.859 5.240 13

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30 comments on Vettel leads the way as practice begins in India

  1. Harvs (@harvs) said on 26th October 2012, 7:19

    yay! gonna be another predictable weekend! oh the excitement of the drivers championship!

  2. sic_j02 said on 26th October 2012, 7:23

    Not looking good for the championship. Red bull usually hide their pace during practice sessions.

  3. BasCB (@bascb) said on 26th October 2012, 7:38

    Looks like Red Bull stealing a mile on the competition, although if Button is on it, he might get close and Hamilton proved he is not too far off. Alonso could have a say as well, but he was really having to work that car for fast times so I am not sure how it will then work out for him in the race.

  4. James (@goodyear92) said on 26th October 2012, 7:43

    It’s looking a tad ominous. Yes, the gaps between the three top teams appears quite small after this session, but if Red Bull is ahead at all by this stage, they’re usually not showing all their cards and can probably walk the weekend from here. It’s not certain to happen, but I would not bet against them. I’m still hoping and praying for a Lewis or Fernando win, though.

    Also, was anyone else watching Sky F1’s coverage? Ted’s “deploying” the umberella phrase was quite amusing. Croft’s response, though: “Will you be deploying your dampness prevention device anytime soon, Ted?”

  5. Jay Menon (@jaymenon10) said on 26th October 2012, 7:45

    Unless Ferrari can find half a second somewhere in the myriad of aeros they’ve brought with this weekend…its curtains for Alonso…which is the most likely outcome. Seb looks in his element, like last year..it will be tough for anyone to beat him when he’s on song.

  6. Keith Collantine (@keithcollantine) said on 26th October 2012, 7:48

    Looks like Perez will be back in the Sauber for the second session.

    • andae23 (@andae23) said on 26th October 2012, 7:59

      Great news – I wasn’t overly impressed with Gutierrez’ driving, though that save after the Massakerb-corner was fantastic!

      • And yet they will likely give him the drive because of sponsorship. Makes me angry/sad. Although to be fair they gave him a really tricky circuit to test on. On saying that he was 1.4s off Kamui and Geido went a couple of tenths faster in a Caterham! You can’t tell me that isn’t embarrassing, when we all know the Caterham’s are 1-2 seconds slower car than the Sauber.

  7. KaIIe (@kaiie) said on 26th October 2012, 7:55

    The harder tyres held up a bit too well, anyone starting outside the top 10 will probably be on a one-stopper.

    • Bob (@bobthevulcan) said on 26th October 2012, 8:11

      Was wandering about that since reading Karthikeyan’s statement about wear not being an issue. Could we see Sauber in contention for another podium?

      • raymondu999 (@raymondu999) said on 26th October 2012, 11:26

        why does wear=no issue = Sauber?

        • Because they have successfully deployed the alternative strategy to gain podiums this season.. Doh!

          • raymondu999 (@raymondu999) said on 26th October 2012, 17:06

            @LJ ummm… No. If the tyres hold up, then EVERYONE can do less stops. It huurts the Sauber as their kinder tyre action doesn’t come into play.

          • Bob (@bobthevulcan) said on 26th October 2012, 17:15

            @raymondu999 – I think there’s a good chance it may come into play. Last year, most teams went for two-stop strategies. With this year’s softer tyre compounds, we’re likely to see two-stoppers again. Assuming Sauber can manage a one-stopper, they could very well pull off another podium.

          • raymondu999 (@raymondu999) said on 26th October 2012, 19:46

            @bobthevulcan Don’t get me wrong, I agree with you – but a two stopper indicates that wear was enough of an issue for Sauber to be a contender.

            But if wear was NOT an issue (assuming non-crazy degradation) then everyone would be on a one-stop

  8. Bob (@bobthevulcan) said on 26th October 2012, 8:10

    Alonso and the McLarens look about equal on pace, but Vettel looks set for another weekend of surging into the distance from pole. If he carries this pace through, and if the other teams don’t gain ground quickly, a win is all but inevitable. However, I’m cautiously optimistic we’ll see a nice battle for the podium spots – P2 to P5 (Button through Webber) seem very closely matched.

    Further down the order, Bottas looks to be in very good shape, while Lotus seem noticeably off-pace – their warm-weather advantage isn’t really showing, is it?

  9. Todfod (@todfod) said on 26th October 2012, 8:39

    I would be shocked if anyone other than Vettel took pole this weekend. What I’m really hoping for is – Fernando qualifying in P2 and beating Seb off the line into P1.

    If Seb is still in P1 after the 1st lap of the race.. the WDC is pretty much over

    • Kingshark (@kingshark) said on 26th October 2012, 10:03

      Fernando qualifying in P2 and beating Seb off the line into P1.

      He does that better from P4. :)

    • raymondu999 (@raymondu999) said on 26th October 2012, 11:33

      @todfod @kingshark
      It seems quite dusty off line, so it might be rather difficult to pull into the lead from P2. But to be P2 into T3 could be the gamechanger. Last year Button was P3 into T3, and picked Webber off into T4.

      Mind you from what I’ve heard they’re bringing in the experts from Bahrain and Abu Dhabi who are bringing in their techniques for keeping dust off the surface. In Bahrain, to memory, they spray the runoffs with a silicon-based gel which prevents the dust and sand there from flying onto the track surface.

  10. Kingshark (@kingshark) said on 26th October 2012, 9:49

    Oh no, with the current enormous lead of 6 points Red Bull are enjoying in the drivers championship, and one of their drivers is fastest in FP1. We can safely say 2012’s championship is over. In fact, it’s pointless to even do any more races or even drivers championships. We should just move on to 2020 and give Vettel & Red Bull all the 10 championships.

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