Brazilian GP: Lewis Hamilton tops opening practice from Vettel
|By Pablo Elizalde||Friday, November 23rd 2012, 13:32 GMT|
Lewis Hamilton picked up from where he left off in the USA by posting the quickest time in opening practice for the Brazilian Grand Prix.
Hamilton, who is competing in his last race for McLaren before moving to Mercedes, posted the quickest time of the session early on, taking advantage of a set of 2013-spec Pirelli tyres, which all teams worked with in the opening 90 minutes of running.
Hamilton's time of 1m14.131s was only 0.009s better than that of Sebastian Vettel, the Red Bull driver's mark set on this year's rubber. Vettel's team-mate Mark Webber was third, also less than a tenth off a second behind Hamilton.
McLaren's Jenson Button was fourth, while championship contender Fernando Alonso finished in fifth position in the Ferrari, albeit over two tenths of a second off the best time.
Felipe Massa was sixth in the second Italian car, with Romain Grosjean, Paul di Resta, Pastor Maldonado and Nico Hulkenberg completing the top 10.
Williams tester Valtteri Bottas was the first man to post a time in the opening minutes of the session, the Finn completing a lap of 1m21.218s that kept him on top until Sergio Perez went over 4s quicker 12 minutes into the session.
The Mexican then found another 2s to post a 1m15.869s.
Fifteen minutes in, Hamilton jumped to the top of the timesheets with a 1m14.374s lap.
Moments later, the 2008 world champion improved to a 1m14.131s that put him nearly 2s clear of the rest of the field and proved enough to keep him on top until the session's end.
Vettel moved up to second place 27 minutes in, posting a time just 0.3s off Hamilton's best while also on the prototype Pirelli rubber. The double world champion improved his time later in the session when running with this year's hard tyres, but he still fell short of Hamilton's time.
With the teams not using the medium tyres at their disposal, the top times stayed mostly unchanged during the remainder of the session.
Abu Dhabi Grand Prix winner Kimi Raikkonen missed most of the running as his mechanics worked on his Lotus, the Finn only posting a time with 10 minutes to go after being hit with apparent engine problems.
The struggling HRT team also restricted its running, with Pedro da la Rosa and Narain Karthikeyan each managing just an installation lap early on and not returning to the track until there were 35 minutes left on the clock.
The 90 minutes of action were mostly incident-free except for a spin by Massa with nine minutes to go, the Brazilian losing control of his car at Pinheirinho.
Pos Driver Team Time Laps 1. Lewis Hamilton McLaren-Mercedes 1m14.131s 33 2. Sebastian Vettel Red Bull-Renault 1m14.140s + 0.009 35 3. Mark Webber Red Bull-Renault 1m14.198s + 0.067 34 4. Jenson Button McLaren-Mercedes 1m14.217s + 0.086 31 5. Fernando Alonso Ferrari 1m14.392s + 0.261 28 6. Felipe Massa Ferrari 1m14.716s + 0.585 29 7. Romain Grosjean Lotus-Renault 1m14.719s + 0.588 33 8. Paul di Resta Force India-Mercedes 1m14.738s + 0.607 34 9. Pastor Maldonado Williams-Renault 1m15.015s + 0.884 37 10. Nico Hulkenberg Force India-Mercedes 1m15.050s + 0.919 32 11. Michael Schumacher Mercedes 1m15.114s + 0.983 36 12. Kamui Kobayashi Sauber-Ferrari 1m15.255s + 1.124 31 13. Sergio Perez Sauber-Ferrari 1m15.396s + 1.265 32 14. Valtteri Bottas Williams-Renault 1m15.413s + 1.282 23 15. Daniel Ricciardo Toro Rosso-Ferrari 1m15.587s + 1.456 35 16. Kimi Raikkonen Lotus-Renault 1m15.701s + 1.570 16 17. Jean-Eric Vergne Toro Rosso-Ferrari 1m16.048s + 1.917 35 18. Nico Rosberg Mercedes 1m16.315s + 2.184 36 19. Giedo van der Garde Caterham-Renault 1m16.460s + 2.329 32 20. Timo Glock Marussia-Cosworth 1m16.506s + 2.375 31 21. Vitaly Petrov Caterham-Renault 1m16.617s + 2.486 30 22. Charles Pic Marussia-Cosworth 1m17.234s + 3.103 26 23. Pedro de la Rosa HRT-Cosworth 1m17.678s + 3.547 15 24. Narain Karthikeyan HRT-Cosworth 1m17.895s + 3.764 13