Practice 1: Hamilton fastest as Webber shunts
29 July, 2011
Jul.29 (PVM) German Grand Prix winner Lewis Hamilton relishes back to back race weekends, itching to get behind the wheel of his McLaren MP4-26 and when he did, for the opening free practice session of the Hungarian Grand Prix in Budapest, he was again top of the timing screens when the chequered flag fell to bring the session to an end.
His time of 1 minute 23..350 seconds was 0.214 faster than Red Bull’s Sebastian Vettel who ended the session second fastest ahead of Ferrari’s Fernando Alonso.
Early drama struck – just after the hour – when Mark Webber got onto the dirt exiting Turn 9, lost control and speared into the barrier causing damage to the front end of the RB7 – he drove back to the pits but new nose cone, front wing and several suspension bits will be required… and no lunch for his crew.
Red Bull on Twitter: “Fear not, Webber fans. Mark’s car will be fixed in time for FP2.” The Australian was fourth quickest despite missing the last half hour.
Jenson Button was next up, fifth fastest, looking far more at ease in the opening 90 minutes in Budapest than he looked all weekend in Germany. The Briton, celebrating his 200th Grand Prix weekend, was less than half a second off his pace setting team mate’s time.
Half a second down on his Ferrari team mate was Felipe Massa who ended the session sixth quickest ahead of the Silver Arrows pair.
Nico Rosberg and Michael Schumacher, seventh and eighth respectively, were within a second of the top time despite struggling with set-up in the first session of the weekend. Schumacher was particularly struggling with too much rear grip and consequent over-steer.
Fastest rookie was Sergio Perez who ended the session ninth fastest, with team mate Kamui Kobayashi 11th.
Splitting the two Saubers and rounding out the top ten was Vitaly Petrov in the Renault.
Making his first appearance in Friday practice for Renault was Bruno Senna who gave a good account of himself, finishing 15th on the timing sheets – 0.762 seconds down on Petrov’s best.
Nico Hulkenberg was on duty for Force India, clocking the 13th best time, fractionally slower than Paul di Resta in the sister car.
Back in his Lotus cockpit was Jarno Trulli, who was substituted for the German GP, and ended the session 20th and slower than his team mate Heikki Kovalainen.
Friday times tend to be deceptive but we can ascertain that Hungary is set to be another three team battle between reigning world champions Red Bull, Ferrari and McLaren while Mercedes GP could well be in for one of their better showings of the year.
Hamilton is totally fired up from his ‘Ring triumph and was in ‘go very fast’ mode from the moment he hit the Hungaroring tarmac. His impatient attack of Jaime Alguersuari late in the session was a clear indication that the Briton means business.
The 2008 world champion is guaranteed to feature prominently in the headlines during the course of this weekend – and has already – starting with the first session!
Friday, 29 July – Practice 1
|2||1||Sebastian Vettel||Red Bull||1:23.564||0.214||24|
|4||2||Mark Webber||Red Bull||1:23.666||0.316||12|
|7||8||Nico Rosberg||Mercedes GP||1:24.250||0.900||22|
|8||7||Michael Schumacher||Mercedes GP||1:24.369||1.019||20|
|12||15||Paul di Resta||Force India||1:25.336||1.986||22|
|13||14||Nico Hulkenberg||Force India||1:25.357||2.007||17|
|16||18||Sebastien Buemi||Toro Rosso||1:25.890||2.540||28|
|17||19||Jaime Alguersuari||Toro Rosso||1:26.099||2.749||36|