Yas Marina Practice 1: Grosjean stumps Red Bull and Mercedes
1 November, 2013
After a superb performance in India less than a week ago, Romain Grosjean’s journey to Formula 1 redemption continued as he ended at the top of the timing sheets at the end of the first free practice session of the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix weekend.
In the process he out-performed Mercedes and Red Bull, whose Lewis Hamilton and Sebastian Vettel who had both had topped the timing screens during the 90 minutes, but ended the session second and third respectively.
Grosjean – at the wheel of the longer wheel-base Lotus E21 – was quick throughout, powering around the marina based venue in a best time of 1:44.241, which was 0.192 seconds up on Hamilton and a quarter second up on Vettel.
Next up were Red Bull’s Mark Webber and Mercedes’ Nico Rosberg, fourth and fifth respectively suggesting that the weekend will be slug match between the two teams, with Grosjean the cat among the pigeons.
Prior to FP1 much attention surrounded the whereabouts of Kimi Raikkonen with speculation swirling that the Finn might ditch the team prematurely. Alas – for the conspiracy theorists – this proved to be unfounded as he did arrive, whereupon he jumped into the shorter wheel-base E21 and ended the session sixth fastest 0.688 of a second down on his teammate’s best.
Apparently enjoying the point and squirt nature of the Yas Marina Circuit, plus the heat, was Paul di Resta who ended the session seventh fastest and perhaps indicating a much needed turnaround in fortunes for the Scot and his team. James Calado, on duty in place of Adrian Sutil, ended 14th.
Jenson Button was eighth with McLaren teammate Sergio Perez rounding out the top ten, with Williams driver Pastor Maldonado splitting the pair on the timing screens with the ninth best time.
Fastest of the Ferrari powered brigade was Nico Hulkenberg in the Sauber, the German having apparently recovered from an upset stomach.
Both Maranello drivers, Fernando Alonso and Felipe Massa, were out of the top ten, ending the session 12th and 17th respectively. Alonso was a whopping 1.199 seconds down on Grosjean’s best.
Report in progress…
Abu Dhabi Grand Prix, Free Practice 1 – Friday, 1 November 2013
|3||1||Sebastian Vettel||Red Bull Racing-Renault||1:44.499||0.258||18|
|4||2||Mark Webber||Red Bull Racing-Renault||1:44.712||0.471||20|
|7||14||Paul di Resta||Force India-Mercedes||1:45.040||0.799||20|
|14||15||James Calado||Force India-Mercedes||1:45.924||1.683||20|