Valencia Practice 1: Maldonado fastest chased closely by Red Bulls

22 June, 2012

Pastor Maldonado (VEN) Williams FW34. Formula One World Championship, Rd8, European Grand Prix, Practice, Valencia, Spain, Friday 22 June 2012.

Pastor Maldonado ended the first free practice session in Valencia fastest of all

Jun.22 (F1 Media) Last time the Formula One circus was in Spain, Pastor Maldonado won the Spanish Grand Prix, in Barcelona, and the Williams driver signaled his intent again on the harbour-side streets of Valencia by claiming top spot on the timing screens in the first free practice session of the European Grand Prix weekend.

Sebastian Vettel Also showing their hand pretty early in proceedings – not their custom of late, were the Red Bull duo with Sebastian Vettel a mere 0.0083 off the top time and Mark Webber 0.011 down on his teammate – it can hardly get any closer at the top.

Friday morning saw track temperatures around 14°C lower than their peak yesterday afternoon as heavy cloud cover descended on the Western Mediterranean, presenting conditions similar to those experienced in Montreal two weeks ago.

There was no great rush to take to the circuit, with most drivers content to do only installation laps in the first third of the session. Only the Toro Rosso pair recorded times, while performing the public service of cleaning the racing line on what is a very dirty, low-grip street course.

Fernando Alonso (ESP) Ferrari F2012. Formula One World Championship, Rd8, European Grand Prix, Practice, Valencia, Spain, Friday 22 June 2012.With an hour to go track action began to pick up, with first the Lotuses and then Rosberg’s Mercedes each briefly holding top spot. Then Maldonado appeared and was the first driver into the 1m40s bracket. His best time of 1:40.890 would stand for the rest of the session.

Behind him Fernando Alonso went second for Ferrari before being eclipsed by the late-arriving Red Bulls. Webber and Vettel were running with near-identical times. Webber initially took P2 only to be supplanted in the last ten minutes by Vettel.

Behind them Jenson Button appeared to have put his recent struggles behind him, taking fourth place, a tenth of a second behind Maldonado. He led Alonso, Paul Di Resta, Michael Schumacher, Lewis Hamilton and Nico Rosberg, with Kimi Raikkonen rounding out the top ten.

The session was largely trouble-free with most drivers completing around 20 laps. Daniel Ricciardo managed 28 laps as Toro Rosso worked to optimise their new exhaust system, while Timo Glock was only able to complete seven laps for Marussia.

Subbed by AJN.

Practice 1 – Friday, 22 June 2012

Pos No Driver Team Time Gap Laps
1 18 Pastor Maldonado Williams-Renault 1:40.890 22
2 1 Sebastian Vettel Red Bull Racing-Renault 1:40.973 0.083 21
3 2 Mark Webber Red Bull Racing-Renault 1:40.984 0.094 19
4 3 Jenson Button McLaren-Mercedes 1:40.994 0.104 19
5 5 Fernando Alonso Ferrari 1:41.065 0.175 26
6 11 Paul di Resta Force India-Mercedes 1:41.105 0.215 15
7 7 Michael Schumacher Mercedes 1:41.117 0.227 22
8 4 Lewis Hamilton McLaren-Mercedes 1:41.158 0.268 18
9 8 Nico Rosberg Mercedes 1:41.182 0.292 21
10 9 Kimi Räikkönen Lotus-Renault 1:41.620 0.730 22
11 10 Romain Grosjean Lotus-Renault 1:41.784 0.894 15
12 14 Kamui Kobayashi Sauber-Ferrari 1:41.838 0.948 19
13 15 Sergio Perez Sauber-Ferrari 1:41.861 0.971 16
14 6 Felipe Massa Ferrari 1:42.109 1.219 20
15 12 Jules Bianchi Force India-Mercedes 1:42.175 1.285 21
16 19 Valtteri Bottas Williams-Renault 1:42.299 1.409 24
17 20 Heikki Kovalainen Caterham-Renault 1:42.442 1.552 26
18 17 Jean-Eric Vergne STR-Ferrari 1:42.758 1.868 27
19 16 Daniel Ricciardo STR-Ferrari 1:42.777 1.887 28
20 21 Vitaly Petrov Caterham-Renault 1:43.209 2.319 19
21 25 Charles Pic Marussia-Cosworth 1:44.173 3.283 19
22 22 Pedro de la Rosa HRT-Cosworth 1:44.996 4.106 15
23 23 Narain Karthikeyan HRT-Cosworth 1:45.120 4.230 23
24 24 Timo Glock Marussia-Cosworth 1:45.338 4.448 7

 

Maldonado has a reputation as a street track specialist and has won on the Valencia Street Circuit in GP2. He looked very assured in this morning’s first practice session and went to the top of the timesheet at around the 50 minute mark.
Friday morning saw track temperatures around 14°C lower than their peak yesterday afternoon as heavy cloud cover descended on the Western Mediterranean, presenting conditions similar to those experienced in Montreal two weeks ago. There was no great rush to take to the circuit, with most drivers content to only do installation laps in the first third of the session. Only the Toro Rosso pair recorded times, while performing the public service of cleaning the racing line on what is a very dirty, low-grip street course.
With an hour to go track action began to pick up, with first the Lotuses and then Rosberg’s Mercedes each briefly holding top spot. Then Maldonado appeared and was the first driver into the 1m40s bracket. His best time of 1:40.890 would stand for the rest of the session. Behind him Fernando Alonso went second for Ferrari before being eclipsed by the late-arriving Red Bulls. Mark Webber and Sebastian Vettel were running with near-identical times. Webber initially took P2, within a tenth of Maldonado’s time, only to be supplanted in the last ten minutes by Vettel who lapped a hundredth of a second quicker than his Australian team-mate.
Behind them Jenson Button appeared to put his recent struggles behind him, taking fourth place, a tenth of a second behind Maldonado. He led Alonso, Paul Di Resta, Michael Schumacher, Lewis Hamilton and Nico Rosberg, with Kimi Raikkonen rounding out the top ten.
The session was largely trouble-free with most drivers completing around 20 laps. Daniel Ricciardo managed 28 laps as Toro Rosso worked to optimise their new exhaust system, while Timo Glock was only able to complete seven laps for Marussia.

Subbed by AJN.


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