Marina Bay Practice 1: Vettel shines brightest with Hamilton in his shadows
21 September, 2012
Sep.21 (GP247) Sporting a twinkling helmet Sebastian Vettel did what he seldom does at the very start of a grand prix weekend, topping the timing screens at the end of the first session of the Singapore Grand Prix weekend at the floodlit Marina Bay Street Circuit.
Vettel’s best time of 1 minute 50.566 seconds in the Red Bull was only fractionally faster than Lewis Hamilton in the McLaren. Both drivers, previous winners on the streets of Singapore, sporting new look helmets for the event, with Vettel sporting a glittering design with flickering lights on the top area. Hamilton’s familiar yellow design design made way to a slick silver version.
Up next was Hamilton’s teammate Jenson Button, followed by world championship points leader Fernando Alonso in the Ferrari. The pair were almost a second down on Vettel’s best.
Pastor Maldonado showed that the Williams could be a factor through the streets, with the fifth best time and fractionally faster than Mark Webber – another driver with a new look helmet.
Seventh and eighth were Nico Hulkenberg and Paul di Resta respectively, Force India looking to keep up their tradition of showing strongly in the latter half of the season.
Daniel Ricciardo was ninth quickest in the Toro Rosso, with Sergio Perez rounding out the top ten.
As appears to be their modus operandi in the first session of a grand prix weekend, neither Lotus was in the top ten. Kimi Raikkonen was 12th with Spa bad boy Romain Grosjean down in 15th – the Frenchman returning from his single race ban.
Also out of the top ten were the Mercedes duo with Michael Schumacher ending the session 14th and Nico Rosberg down in 18th. The Silver Arrows boys are either in serious trouble or were playing it very, very easy in FP1, although the two nearly had a coming together when Schumacher nearly rear-ended Rosberg early on in the session.
The ninety minutes session started on a damp track due to a mid-afternoon rain storm, but it dried rapidly and was dry by the halfway mark. Grip is likely to improve with just about every lap as the weekend progresses, as rubber is laid down.
Subbed by AJN.
Singapore Grand Prix, Practice 1 – Friday, 21 September 2012
|1||1||Sebastian Vettel||Red Bull Racing-Renault||1:50.566||24|
|6||2||Mark Webber||Red Bull Racing-Renault||1:51.655||1.089||19|
|7||12||Nico Hulkenberg||Force India-Mercedes||1:51.658||1.092||24|
|8||11||Paul di Resta||Force India-Mercedes||1:51.943||1.377||21|
|23||22||Pedro de la Rosa||HRT-Cosworth||1:56.656||6.090||21|
|24||23||Qing Hua Ma||HRT-Cosworth||1:58.053||7.487||20|
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