Vettel takes top time off Hamilton in first practice

2012 United States Grand Prix first practice

Sebastian Vettel, Red Bull, Circuit of the Americas, 2012Sebastian Vettel led the first practice session at the Circuit of the Americas by over a second.

His final two laps were the quickest of the session, the last putting him 1.4s clear of second-placed Lewis Hamilton.

Hamilton led the way for much of the session but pitted a few laps before the end reporting a loss of grip from his front-left tyre. Fernando Alonso was third fastest for Ferrari, 2.2s slower than Vettel.

Lap times improved quickly throughout the 90 minutes of practice on the slippery track. Drivers reported very little grip when the session began.

Turn 19 was the most common scene of problems with driver after driver running wide at the corner. Vettel went off there more than once and Felipe Massa was one of several other drivers to have problems at the corner.

Nico Hulkenberg had two spins in his Force India, one of them at turn one at the top of the hill.

Ma Qing Hua was the only non-race driver to participate in the session, taking over from Narain Karthikeyan at HRT. He ended the session 1.7s slower than team mate Pedro de la Rosa.

Pos. No. Driver Car Best lap Gap Laps
1 1 Sebastian Vettel Red Bull-Renault 1’38.125 30
2 4 Lewis Hamilton McLaren-Mercedes 1’39.543 1.418 28
3 5 Fernando Alonso Ferrari 1’40.337 2.212 29
4 3 Jenson Button McLaren-Mercedes 1’40.528 2.403 29
5 2 Mark Webber Red Bull-Renault 1’40.650 2.525 30
6 6 Felipe Massa Ferrari 1’40.966 2.841 26
7 12 Nico Hulkenberg Force India-Mercedes 1’41.023 2.898 29
8 14 Kamui Kobayashi Sauber-Ferrari 1’41.036 2.911 28
9 8 Nico Rosberg Mercedes 1’41.159 3.034 32
10 15 Sergio Perez Sauber-Ferrari 1’41.473 3.348 29
11 11 Paul di Resta Force India-Mercedes 1’41.783 3.658 29
12 16 Daniel Ricciardo Toro Rosso-Ferrari 1’41.825 3.700 28
13 17 Jean-Eric Vergne Toro Rosso-Ferrari 1’41.833 3.708 29
14 9 Kimi Raikkonen Lotus-Renault 1’41.880 3.755 23
15 10 Romain Grosjean Lotus-Renault 1’41.998 3.873 27
16 18 Pastor Maldonado Williams-Renault 1’42.539 4.414 30
17 7 Michael Schumacher Mercedes 1’42.588 4.463 25
18 25 Charles Pic Marussia-Cosworth 1’43.288 5.163 23
19 20 Heikki Kovalainen Caterham-Renault 1’43.443 5.318 28
20 21 Vitaly Petrov Caterham-Renault 1’43.522 5.397 23
21 24 Timo Glock Marussia-Cosworth 1’44.464 6.339 24
22 19 Bruno Senna Williams-Renault 1’44.548 6.423 29
23 22 Pedro de la Rosa HRT-Cosworth 1’46.917 8.792 13
24 23 Ma Qing Hua HRT-Cosworth 1’48.559 10.434 19

2012 United States Grand Prix

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56 comments on Vettel takes top time off Hamilton in first practice

  1. schooner (@schooner) said on 16th November 2012, 17:37

    The circuit looks great. All that artificial grass has me a bit concerned though. Hope they’ve got it glued down well!

  2. AndrewTanner (@andrewtanner) said on 16th November 2012, 18:02

    HRT best be careful, they’re well outside the 107% threshold by around 2s. I’m sure they will improve and maybe such a long lap will go in their favour (less likelihood of too much traffic) but it’s something to keep an eye on.

    Difficult to read into much else but we shouldn’t get excited by any times considering some drivers have barely even touched the circuit in a simulator.

  3. Robbie (@robbie) said on 16th November 2012, 18:23

    I wonder if even SV’s time is not that impressive for now as all teams might be thinking that until the track rubbers in and they get a bit of data going nobody wants to crash out and end up virtually qualifying and racing on a track that they have barely put any laps around. I think they will take more risks in the second session as it nears it’s second half so they can compile data, and if they make a mistake they will have time to fix the car for tomorrow but will at least have gotten some useful running in today.

  4. racerdude7730 (@racerdude7730) said on 16th November 2012, 18:51

    So what do you all think of the track? I think it looks AMAZING! Some of the helicopter shots from the front straight all the way back to turn 11 looks sick. Its like a roller coaster its so up and down. On a 1-10 i would give it a 9. Whats everyone ones opinion on your favorite and least favorite part? and to keep with the post topic i think they times will pull closer together but i think vet will have them all covered

  5. azanardi said on 16th November 2012, 19:21

    Any idea about Vettel’s last sector time ? It is almost 1s better than any other driver …

  6. electrolite (@electrolite) said on 16th November 2012, 19:22

    I’m reading nothing from any of this. First session, brand new track…

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