US GP Practice 1: Vettel tops first ever session in Austin
16 November, 2012
Nov.16 (Apex) Sebastian Vettel had the honour of ending the first ever practice session at Circuit of the Americas at the top of the timing sheets, on the first day of the United States Grand Prix weekend.
Vettel left it until the final minutes of qualifying to set the time of 1 minute 38.125 seconds which clearly showed his intent at the start of the first grand prix weekend on American soil since 2007. The time came on his final lap of the session, following a flurry which saw him first go tops by three quarters of a second, before really driving home the point with his final lap time of the morning.
Next best was Lewis Hamilton in bis penultimate race with McLaren, while Vettel’s only championship rival Fernando Alonso was third quickest in the Ferrari but over two seconds down on the top time.
Jenson Button was fourth quickest, a second down on his McLaren teammate, with Mark Webber 2,5 seconds off his Red Bull teammate in fifth.
Felipe Massa was sixth fastest in the Ferrari, making it three teams in the top six positions after the first session in Austin.
Showing strong pace early on was Nico Hulkenberg in the Force India, who ended the session seventh fastest, which was almost as second up on teammate Paul di Resta.
Also showing a good turn of pace early on were the Sauber duo, with Kamui Kobayashi and Sergio Perez ending the session in eighth and tenth respectively.
Splitting the Saubers was Nico Rosberg, fastest of the two Mercedes drivers in ninth with teammate Michael Schumacher struggling down in 17th.
Never before used for racing, the newly finished Circuit of the Americas surface was slippery and very ‘green’ which resulted in a number of spins and drivers going wide. Turn 19 appearing to be particularly difficult.
The likes of Hamilton, Vettel, Webber, Button, Alonso, Massa, Perez and Hulkenberg all had moments during the course of the session.
Several teams were running updates, with Alonso trying various elements on the front and rear wings, and a diffuser update on the F2012 in an effort to come to terms with the Red Bull RB8.
But if the first 90 minutes in Austin were anything to go by, the Maranello squad have a major task at hand to keep the youngster from Heppenheim in their sights.
Subbed by AJN.
United States GP Practice 1, Circuit of the Americas – Friday 16 November 2012
|1||1||Sebastian Vettel||Red Bull Racing-Renault||1:38.125||30|
|5||2||Mark Webber||Red Bull Racing-Renault||1:40.650||2.525||30|
|7||12||Nico Hulkenberg||Force India-Mercedes||1:41.023||2.898||29|
|11||11||Paul di Resta||Force India-Mercedes||1:41.783||3.658||29|
|23||22||Pedro de la Rosa||HRT-Cosworth||1:46.917||8.792||13|
|24||23||Qing Hua Ma||HRT-Cosworth||1:48.559||10.434||19|