Tag Archives: FP1

Japanese Grand Prix: Sainz Quickest In Rain-Affected FP1

Toro Rosso rookie Carlos Sainz was the fastest man during Friday morning’s practice session for the Japanese Grand Prix, marking the first time the Spaniard has topped a session.

The unexpected speed in extremely wet conditions saw him clock a fastest lap over half a second clear of second quickest Daniil Kvyat in the sister Red Bull car. With Mercedes’ surprise lack of pace at last weekend’s Singapore Grand Prix fresh in their heads, Rosberg and Hamilton recorded third and fifth respectively, with Ferrari’s meddler and Championship contender Sebastian Vettel wedging his way into fourth.

The torrential rain saw limited running from those who ventured on track, with eight drivers – including Daniel Ricciardo, Fernando Alonso and Lotus reserve driver Jolyon Palmer – deciding to stay in the shelter of their garages. Max Verstappen brought the other Toro Rosso to sixth, over 1.5s shy of team-mate Sainz’s session-topping time. Kimi Raikkonen took the second Ferrari to seventh while Williams’ Felipe Massa and Valtteri Bottas coasted to eighth and tenth, and Sauber’s Marcus Ericsson and Felipe Nasr placed ninth and eleventh. The slowest driver to clock a lap was McLaren’s Jenson Button with a lap over six seconds slower than that of Sainz’s effort.

The order of practice cannot give too much scope to how Qualifying might play out. The conditions were far too heavy to even set a time for most of the session, and the latter part of the running saw drivers tip-toe the circuit for fear of losing control – and valuable parts on the car. Bottas, for example, went off at the ultra-fast 130R corner while Felipe Massa skipped through the gravel earlier in the lap.

Sebastian Vettel predicted this week that Mercedes would return to their strong hold over the grid this weekend, but judging from the times he seems to be holding them honest. With a dry qualifying and race predicted, the major players’ pace is still to be seen.

Free Practice One results:

  1. Carlos Sainz
  2. Daniil Kvyat
  3. Nico Rosberg
  4. Sebastian Vettel
  5. Lewis Hamilton
  6. Max Verstappen
  7. Kimi Raikkonen
  8. Felipe Massa
  9. Marcus Ericsson
  10. Valtteri Bottas
  11. Felipe Nasr
  12. Jenson Button
  • Daniel Ricciardo (NT)*
  • Nico Hulkenberg (NT)
  • Sergio Perez (NT)
  • Fernando Alonso (NT)
  • Pastor Maldonado (NT)
  • Jolyon Palmer (NT)
  • Will Stevens (NT)
  • Alexander Rossi (NT)

*NT = No TIme

Image courtesy of Scuderia Toro Rosso/Getty Images.

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Hamilton Quickest In Opening Practice

Lewis Hamilton took the top spot during Friday morning’s free practice session ahead of the Hungarian Grand Prix. The Briton’s lead from team-mate Nico Rosberg, which was nearly two tenths, is the first step in his mission to win this weekend’s Grand Prix and reel in Championship leader Rosberg. With the two Mercedes men taking up their usual position at the top of the time sheets, it was Kimi Raikkonen who proved to be the best-of-the-rest as he lapped six-tenths shy of Hamilton’s quickest effort, with his Alonso a further four tenths behind, in fourth. Vettel was fifth for Red Bull as Kevin Magnussen finished the session in sixth. Jean-Eric Vergne was seventh, just ahead of former team-mate Daniel Ricciardo, who dedicated some of his run plan to drifting around the circuit when his tyres ‘hit the cliff’. Jenson Button complained about a complete lack of rear grip but brought his McLaren to ninth, while Massa rounded out the top ten.

Esteban Gutierrez took eleventh, almost poetically symbolic of the struggle Sauber are having in scoring a point this season, with former Sauber driver Nico Hulkenberg in twelfth. Daniil Kvyat lapped in thirteenth, and Maldonado in fourteenth, while Valtteri Bottas was surprisingly down the order in fifteenth. Sergio Perez’s Force India leads the Lotus of Grosjean and the Sauber of Sutil (the latter spinning in the final seconds of practice), with Kamui Kobayashi leading team-mate Marcus Ericsson, and the two Marussias of Max Chilton and Jules Bianchi. Chilton finished ahead of Jules, particulalry impressive as he had time for only one flying lap following a fire on his installation lap saw him park in the pits and walk back to the garage. During the later stages of practice, Marussia tried to get him out, but it wasn’t until the fourth attempt that he successfully got back out.

So, for now, the advantage is held by Hamilton at a circuit where he has enjoyed success before, in comparison to the less successful memories his team-mate has of the track. However, with three consecutive races of botched Qualifying, Hamilton will need to take full advantage of practice to find the perfect set up to ensure he has the edge come Saturday afternoon.

Free Practice One results:

  1. Lewis Hamilton
  2. Nico Rosberg
  3. Kimi Raikkonen
  4. Fernando Alonso
  5. Sebastian Vettel
  6. Kevin Magnussen
  7. Jean-Eric Vergne
  8. Daniel Ricciardo
  9. Jenson Button
  10. Felipe Massa
  11. Esteban Gutierrez
  12. Nico Hulkenberg
  13. Daniil Kvyat
  14. Pastor Maldonado
  15. Valtteri Bottas
  16. Sergio Perez
  17. Romain Grosjean
  18. Adrian Sutil
  19. Kamui Kobayashi
  20. Marcus Ericsson
  21. Max Chilton
  22. Jules Bianchi

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Hamilton Fastest In Opening Practice Session

Lewis Hamilton was the fastest man in this morning’s FP1 session ahead of the Japanese Grand Prix.

The Briton’s lap of 1.34.157 set him three tenths up on his team-mate who was the next man down the order on the timing sheets. Sebastian Vettel was third for Red Bull, with Mark Webber right behind him in the twin car. Felipe Massa was a further three-tenths behind the reigning World Champions, with mere thousandths of a second separating the Ferrari duo. Next was the Lotus duo, led by Romain Grosjean, who occupied seventh and eighth by sessions end, with Sergio Perez and Daniel Ricciardo rounding out the top ten.

Jenson Button was eleventh, Nico Hulkenberg twelfth and Jean-Eric Vergne thirteenth. Adrian Sutil narrowly beat Maldonado to fourteenth, while the Williams driver ended his session prematurely with a loose rear left tyre making a break for the Japanese scenery. Valtteri Bottas finished the session a tenth down on his team-mate while Paul di Resta occupied a disappointing but now regular seventeenth place, 2.2 shy of the fastest lap. Esteban Gutierrez was eighteenth and Heikki Kovalainen was nineteenth, fastest of the backmarkers while taking the first session over from Charles Pic. Jules Bianchi finished the session twentieth, with only 30 minutes of running before sliding into the barriers at Degner. Van der Garde made the same mistake and went off at Degner with twenty minutes remaining in the session, becoming the third man to retire from the session. Max Chilton was twenty-second, and last, surviving a late spin at the first corner.

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FP1: Hamilton Sets The Pace For Mercedes

Mercedes’ Lewis Hamilton was the pace-setter during this morning’s Free Practice One session ahead of the Italian Grand Prix. The Briton was by no means particularly dominant however, with Ferrari’s Alonso and Mercedes’ Rosberg right behind him to keep him honest. Vettel, race winner at the Belgian Grand Prix two weeks ago, was fourth overall,  ahead of Lotus’ Kimi Raikkonen. Sergio Perez was sixth for McLaren, marginally ahead of team-mate Button who himself trumped Mark Webber. Pastor Maldonado and Jean-Eric Vergne were ninth and tenth respectively.

Esteban Gutierrez was eleventh for Sauber, Romain Grosjean was twelfth for Lotus and Daniel Ricciardo was thirteenth for Toro Rosso during his first track outing since being announced as Mark Webber’s replacement at Red Bull next year. The tifosi wont be impressed with Felipe Massa down in fourteenth for home-squad Ferrari. The Brazilian made a mistake when attempting a practice start at the pitlane and was forced to abandon the car and walk back to the garage. Paul di Resta was right behind Massa, finishing fifteenth ahead of Williams’ Valtteri Bottas. James Calado was on track for Force India for his first outing since being appointed as the Silverstone outfit’s third driver. He had an impressive debut, finishing just half a second shy of di Resta. Nico Hulkenberg suffered recurring gearbox issues throughout the session and eventually ground to a halt at the pitlane exit with ten minutes remaining in the session, ending the session eighteenth. Charles Pic was nineteenth for Caterham ahead of Max Chilton for Marussia while Heikki Kovalainen took over for Giedo van der Garde and finished twenty-first. Rodolfo Gonzalez was in the car for Jules Bianchi and finished twenty-second, and last.

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