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Pastor Maldonado quickest in first practice for the European Grand Prix

Pastor Maldonado, Valencia, 2012Pastor Maldonado put Williams on top of the times in the opening practice session for the European Grand Prix in Valencia.

The Williams driver, the winner of the Spanish Grand Prix earlier this year, posted a best time of 1m40.890s early in the session and that benchmark remained unbeaten until the end.

Red Bull's Sebastian Vettel got closest to the Venezuelan, finishing just 0.083 seconds behind, with team-mate Mark Webber only a hundredth of a second adrift.

Jenson Button seemed to have a much better start to the weekend than in Canada after posting the fourth fastest time in the quickest of the McLarens, team-mate Lewis Hamilton was down in eighth position.

Fernando Alonso completed the top five in the Ferrari in a session in which the top nine drivers were covered by less than three tenths of a second.

Toro Rosso drivers Jean-Eric Vergne and Daniel Ricciardo were the only men to set a time in the first 30 minutes of the session, as the majority of their rivals took it easy after completing their installation laps.

Raikkonen was the first of the frontrunners to complete a timed lap with 55 minutes to go, the Finn posting a 1m42.589s, which was bettered a few moments later by Lotus team-mate Grosjean. Raikkonen regained the top spot with a second flyer, however, going into the 1m41s.

With 50 minutes left, it was Rosberg who jumped to first place in the Mercedes, going over half a second quicker than Raikkonen.

Maldonado in the Williams was first to lap in the 1m40s around the 50-minute mark, with local hero Alonso moving to second when he began to complete timed laps after several installation rounds.

World champion Vettel moved to second place with less than 10 minutes to go, as Venezuelan Maldonado kept the top spot in a trouble-free session.


Pos  Driver                Team                  Time               Laps
 1.  Pastor Maldonado      Williams-Renault      1m40.890s            22
 2.  Sebastian Vettel      Red Bull-Renault      1m40.973s  + 0.083   21
 3.  Mark Webber           Red Bull-Renault      1m40.984s  + 0.094   19
 4.  Jenson Button         McLaren-Mercedes      1m40.994s  + 0.104   19
 5.  Fernando Alonso       Ferrari               1m41.065s  + 0.175   26
 6.  Paul di Resta         Force India-Mercedes  1m41.105s  + 0.215   15
 7.  Michael Schumacher    Mercedes              1m41.117s  + 0.227   22
 8.  Lewis Hamilton        McLaren-Mercedes      1m41.158s  + 0.268   18
 9.  Nico Rosberg          Mercedes              1m41.182s  + 0.292   21
10.  Kimi Raikkonen        Lotus-Renault         1m41.620s  + 0.730   21
11.  Romain Grosjean       Lotus-Renault         1m41.784s  + 0.894   15
12.  Kamui Kobayashi       Sauber-Ferrari        1m41.838s  + 0.948   19
13.  Sergio Perez          Sauber-Ferrari        1m41.861s  + 0.971   16
14.  Felipe Massa          Ferrari               1m42.109s  + 1.219   20
15.  Jules Bianchi         Force India-Mercedes  1m42.175s  + 1.285   21
16.  Valtteri Bottas       Williams-Renault      1m42.299s  + 1.409   24
17.  Heikki Kovalainen     Caterham-Renault      1m42.442s  + 1.552   26
18.  Jean-Eric Vergne      Toro Rosso-Ferrari    1m42.758s  + 1.868   26
19.  Daniel Ricciardo      Toro Rosso-Ferrari    1m42.777s  + 1.887   28
20.  Vitaly Petrov         Caterham-Renault      1m43.209s  + 2.319   19
21.  Charles Pic           Marussia-Cosworth     1m44.173s  + 3.283   18
22.  Pedro de la Rosa      HRT-Cosworth          1m44.996s  + 4.106   15
23.  Narain Karthikeyan    HRT-Cosworth          1m45.120s  + 4.230   23
24.  Timo Glock            Marussia-Cosworth     1m45.338s  + 4.448    7

All Timing Unofficial
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