Mercedes head eventful first session at Suzuka

2013 Japanese Grand Prix first practice

Lewis Hamilton, Mercedes, Suzuka, 2013Mercedes were comfortably quickest in the first practice session for the Japanese Grand Prix, Lewis Hamilton over six-tenths of a second faster than the next team.

Nico Rosberg made it a one-two for Mercedes followed by Sebastian Vettel’s Red Bull.

There was little to separate the two RB9s, Vettel less than two-hundredths of a second faster than Mark Webber.

The Ferraris and Lotuses were next, Romain Grosjean having gone off at Spoon Curve earlier in the session as he struggled with rear instability.

Other drivers had more serious problems. Jules Bianchi’s first session at Suzuka lasted just half an hour.

The Marussia driver went off at Degner 2 on his ninth lap, the car flicking to oversteer at the apex. Bianchi applied opposite lock but found his arm was jammed against the side of the cockpit as he tried to straighten the car. That sent him into the barrier, damaging the front-left corner.

Later in the session Bianchi’s damaged Marussia was joined by Giedo van der Garde’s car. The Caterham driver locked his brakes at the same corner and came to a stop in the gravel trap just shy of the barrier.

At the same time Pastor Maldonado had an unusual failure at Spoon Curve. His left-rear wheel came loose which pitched him into a spin, after which it came off completely.

Pos. No. Driver Car Best lap Gap Laps
1 10 Lewis Hamilton Mercedes 1’34.157 19
2 9 Nico Rosberg Mercedes 1’34.487 0.330 19
3 1 Sebastian Vettel Red Bull-Renault 1’34.768 0.611 24
4 2 Mark Webber Red Bull-Renault 1’34.787 0.630 20
5 4 Felipe Massa Ferrari 1’35.126 0.969 14
6 3 Fernando Alonso Ferrari 1’35.154 0.997 16
7 8 Romain Grosjean Lotus-Renault 1’35.179 1.022 15
8 7 Kimi Raikkonen Lotus-Renault 1’35.364 1.207 17
9 6 Sergio Perez McLaren 1’35.450 1.293 27
10 19 Daniel Ricciardo Toro Rosso-Ferrari 1’35.635 1.478 19
11 5 Jenson Button McLaren 1’35.868 1.711 22
12 11 Nico Hulkenberg Sauber-Ferrari 1’35.900 1.743 18
13 18 Jean-Eric Vergne Toro Rosso-Ferrari 1’36.066 1.909 20
14 15 Adrian Sutil Force India-Mercedes 1’36.165 2.008 19
15 16 Pastor Maldonado Williams-Renault 1’36.178 2.021 12
16 17 Valtteri Bottas Williams-Renault 1’36.340 2.183 23
17 14 Paul di Resta Force India-Mercedes 1’36.399 2.242 18
18 12 Esteban Gutierrez Sauber-Ferrari 1’36.760 2.603 22
19 20 Heikki Kovalainen Caterham-Renault 1’37.595 3.438 22
20 22 Jules Bianchi Marussia-Cosworth 1’37.629 3.472 8
21 21 Giedo van der Garde Caterham-Renault 1’38.025 3.868 15
22 23 Max Chilton Marussia-Cosworth 1’38.763 4.606 18

2013 Japanese Grand Prix

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26 comments on Mercedes head eventful first session at Suzuka

  1. Jay Menon (@jaymenon10) said on 11th October 2013, 3:49

    Yeah..RB just sand bagging..Seb will be on pole tomorrow.

  2. David-A (@david-a) said on 11th October 2013, 3:52

    Button’s lack of pace really ruined the top 10.

  3. Rybo (@rybo) said on 11th October 2013, 3:53

    His left-right wheel came loose which pitched him into a spin, after which it came off completely.

    Im guessing that should be Left-Rear wheel?

  4. Libellula (@ladyf1fanatic) said on 11th October 2013, 4:01

    Hope Mercedes can translate this into race pace! Need something to spice up the week-end! Glad Van Der Garde, Bianchi and Maldonado are looking fine, those crashes were nasty!

  5. Chris (@tophercheese21) said on 11th October 2013, 4:07

    Lotuses were next

    *Loti

  6. Aussie Rod (@aussierod) said on 11th October 2013, 4:54

    What a pleasure it is to see a circuit that punishes mistakes.

    Grass and gravel is underrated.

    • David-A (@david-a) said on 11th October 2013, 5:15

      Well, a non-street circuit, anyway. Singapore’s barriers were 2 races ago.

      • Aussie Rod (@aussierod) said on 11th October 2013, 6:05

        Yes good point however even Singapore has a number of corners where running wide over the incredibly-flat kerbs means that you simply run on to more asphalt and off you go.

        Mark my words it is simply a matter of time before the FIA introduces a ‘GPS engine limiting device’ (GELD device?) for when drivers go all four wheels off the track. Remember Geoff Crammond’s GP2 when the game would slow you down for cutting the track? That’s what F1 will be in a few years time…

        IMO tracks should be lined with grass and gravel that punishes the little mistakes. What would the Degner turns be if they were altered to have flat kerbs and an airfield of flat run-off around them?

        Similarly a number of Tilke-tracks would come alive with a bit of grass, gravel and raised kerbing.

    • Peter Cotterill (@stigrennfahrer) said on 11th October 2013, 9:12

      I completely agree – I know that having asphalt runoff areas has decreased the number of crashes and retirements, but really speaking, it has dulled racing a lot. F1 drivers are supposed to be the best in the world – why not keep the challenge? They should be pushing to perfection, and in this case, not getting tyres onto the gravel would be the best indicator of this.

    • Degner has always been a tricky corner. People regularly go off there on a GP weekend. It’s the Ste. Devote of Suzuka. You come through that semi-flat Degner 1, then have to line up for a slow, sharp, downhill turn right after.

  7. Fer no.65 (@fer-no65) said on 11th October 2013, 10:58

    The Marussia driver went off at Degner 2 on his ninth lap, the car flicking to oversteer at the apex. Bianchi applied opposite lock but found his arm was jammed against the side of the cockpit as he tried to straighten the car. That sent him into the barrier, damaging the front-left corner.

    I knew something odd had happened ! it looked like he got oversteer, corrected it, and turned into the wall… the car was recovered like 5 meters before the kerb but he was still going left ! weird to see this happen !

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