Sebastian Vettel, Red Bull, Interlagos, 2012

McLaren and Red Bull closely-matched in first practice

2012 Brazilian Grand Prix first practice

Sebastian Vettel, Red Bull, Interlagos, 2012Just one tenth of a second covered the best times by McLaren and Red Bull’s drivers in the first practice session for the Brazilian Grand Prix.

Lewis Hamilton led the way followed by Sebastian Vettel, Mark Webber and Jenson Button – all covered by 0.086s.

Vettel’s title rival Fernando Alonso was fifth-fastest, 0.261s slower than the best time. Felipe Massa was sixth following a spin in his Ferrari, which left his car undamaged.

Romain Grosjean was seventh for Lotus but team mate Kimi Raikkonen’s session was disrupted by an engine problem. He failed to set a time until the final quarter of an hour after the team’s first attempt failed to cure the glitch.

The Force India drivers also appeared in the top ten, separated by Pastor Maldonado’s Williams.

The HRT drivers did little running early in the session before appearing for a few laps.

Much of the session was conducted by drivers using Pirelli’s development tyre compound for the 2013 season, which were identified with orange markings.

Pos. No. Driver Car Best lap Gap Laps
1 4 Lewis Hamilton McLaren-Mercedes 1’14.131 33
2 1 Sebastian Vettel Red Bull-Renault 1’14.140 0.009 35
3 2 Mark Webber Red Bull-Renault 1’14.198 0.067 34
4 3 Jenson Button McLaren-Mercedes 1’14.217 0.086 31
5 5 Fernando Alonso Ferrari 1’14.392 0.261 28
6 6 Felipe Massa Ferrari 1’14.716 0.585 29
7 10 Romain Grosjean Lotus-Renault 1’14.719 0.588 33
8 11 Paul di Resta Force India-Mercedes 1’14.738 0.607 34
9 18 Pastor Maldonado Williams-Renault 1’15.015 0.884 37
10 12 Nico Hulkenberg Force India-Mercedes 1’15.050 0.919 32
11 7 Michael Schumacher Mercedes 1’15.114 0.983 36
12 14 Kamui Kobayashi Sauber-Ferrari 1’15.255 1.124 31
13 15 Sergio Perez Sauber-Ferrari 1’15.396 1.265 32
14 19 Valtteri Bottas Williams-Renault 1’15.413 1.282 23
15 16 Daniel Ricciardo Toro Rosso-Ferrari 1’15.587 1.456 35
16 9 Kimi Raikkonen Lotus-Renault 1’15.701 1.570 16
17 17 Jean-Eric Vergne Toro Rosso-Ferrari 1’16.048 1.917 35
18 8 Nico Rosberg Mercedes 1’16.315 2.184 36
19 20 Giedo van der Garde Caterham-Renault 1’16.460 2.329 32
20 24 Timo Glock Marussia-Cosworth 1’16.506 2.375 31
21 21 Vitaly Petrov Caterham-Renault 1’16.617 2.486 30
22 25 Charles Pic Marussia-Cosworth 1’17.234 3.103 26
23 22 Pedro de la Rosa HRT-Cosworth 1’17.678 3.547 15
24 23 Narain Karthikeyan HRT-Cosworth 1’17.895 3.764 13

2012 Brazilian Grand Prix

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Image ?? Red Bull/Getty images

27 comments on “McLaren and Red Bull closely-matched in first practice”

  1. Hamilton being the fastest doesn’t mean a whole lot, given that he was ahead of both the Red Bulls by just a fraction, and while he was on the test tyres, the pair of them did it on the hard set — which aren’t as fast. Also, his times on the hards seemed to be, on average, just a little behind the Bulls’. Although, he seemed a fair distance of them in the USA and we saw what happened there. I’m predicting the most common front row this season again — Vettel and Hamilton, but I’m not sure who will be on pole out of those two.

    1. @sumedhvidwans I care more about getting a deserving champion than whichever one of them actually wins it. I want an exciting and, above all, fair conclusion to the championship. I don’t want to see Massa (or Webber) being used for blocking tactics or anything like that, so I think it’s good for the championship if he’s not involved. Let Vettel and Alonso fight it out for themselves and we’ll have a worthy champion, that’s what matters.

      1. @keithcollantine Please don’t get me wrong. I was not saying that Massa has to do a Piquet Jr. or crash into Vettel or anything. All I mean is that Alonso needs people to fill in the 2nd, 3rd and 4th places so that he can win the championship and it would be great if Massa fills up one of the three.

      1. True that! But the teams can utilize the practice sessions to gain as much feedback as then can from the 2013 Pirelli tyres. Nice move by Pirelli to give the drivers a feel of next year’s tyres.

        1. @hari yet that could be seen as an unfair advantage as Ferrari and RedBull have to concentrate on this race while the others can have a nice taste of new tyres. Even if I don’t think it can makes a huge difference between teams and I’m sure Ferrari and RedBull don’t care to much about next year right now …

          1. Well, I don’t think they will be at a disadvantage. In FP1 for instance Massa was doing the job of testing the 2013 tyres and giving his feedback on them while Alonso did most of his laps on this year’s tyres (although he set his fastest lap on test tyres).

  2. I think we all might be underestimating Vettel’s relative youth when predicting an easy Vettel Hamilton front row. This is probably the first time he’ll start with so many contenders behind him with nothing to lose. Granted, he can make pole easily, but during the race? He’s been rather bad under pressure in the past, this might be Alonso’s hope.

  3. That race has already so many things that can decide winner even before: the rain, tyres strategy, the fact that is the last race (people that plays pool know how oddly hard is to sink the black ball most of yhe times), even some macumba can decide it.

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