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Webber tops first practice at Interlagos

Mark Webber proved the pace of the Red Bull RB5 in first practice for the Brazilian Grand Prix with a sequence of laps late in the 90-minute session that were all good enough to put the Australian fastest

Webber, who eventually ended up with a best lap of 1m12.463s, was quick throughout an eventful practice, but in the end was more than 0.4s faster than championship contender Rubens Barrichello in the Brawn.

Sebastian Vettel was third quickest, with Heikki Kovalainen fourth ahead of Lewis Hamilton and Kazuki Nakajima.

Points leader Jenson Button, beginning a weekend that could end up with him being a world champion, appeared to struggle with understeer and ended the session seventh.

The track became busy unusually quickly for an opening practice session as the teams raced against the weather, but it was still the Toro Rossos of Sebastien Buemi and Jaime Alguersuari that were first on to the track and setting the pace.

It wasn't long though before Kimi Raikkonen's Ferrari moved to the top of the times with a 1m14.021s, five hundredths faster than Buemi. It didn't last, as the track rubbered in and Webber quickly moved ahead. This despite the Australian having to use dramatic avoidance tactics to stop a collision with a dawdling Nakajima.

The Red Bull driver was usurped by Barrichello's Brawn not long after this, but the drizzle that had begun almost at the start of the session, turned into rain around 30 minutes in.

Fernando Alonso's trip across the grass at the hairpin was evidence of the slippery conditions. So the cars headed pit-bound, but not before Vettel set a dramatic 1m12.932s lap to go quickest of all.

There then followed a period of calm as the teams and drivers waited out the shower.

McLaren's Kovalainen was the first to try slicks, at the turn of the hour, as the track dried quickly. Moments later the session was red-flagged after Romain Grosjean ran wide at Turn 11 and obliterated a marker board.

The session was re-opened with 22 minutes left, but it still took a while for the drivers to work back down to a decent pace, and with 15 minutes to go, Webber went quickest with a 1m12.805s to make it a Red Bull one-two.

But once again the rain began to fall, making the track greasy and prompting a number of moments for Kimi Raikkonen, Alonso and Barrichello, who spun at Cotovelo.

Buemi had slightly more than a moment, losing it under braking and just missing Vitantonio Liuzzi as he careered off backwards into the tyre wall.

In the final minutes, Webber improved again, as mentioned above, and so did Barrichello to go second quickest overall, just as the clouds ominously moved into position ahead of the second practice session.

Pos  Driver       Team                       Time              Laps
 1.  Webber       Red Bull-Renault      (B)  1:12.463            29
 2.  Barrichello  Brawn-Mercedes        (B)  1:12.874  + 0.411   32
 3.  Vettel       Red Bull-Renault      (B)  1:12.932  + 0.469   27
 4.  Kovalainen   McLaren-Mercedes      (B)  1:12.989  + 0.526   25
 5.  Hamilton     McLaren-Mercedes      (B)  1:13.048  + 0.585   25
 6.  Nakajima     Williams-Toyota       (B)  1:13.067  + 0.604   21
 7.  Button       Brawn-Mercedes        (B)  1:13.141  + 0.678   29
 8.  Rosberg      Williams-Toyota       (B)  1:13.147  + 0.684   23
09.  Sutil        Force India-Mercedes  (B)  1:13.232  + 0.769   23
10.  Raikkonen    Ferrari               (B)  1:13.321  + 0.858   24
11.  Trulli       Toyota                (B)  1:13.326  + 0.863   26
12.  Heidfeld     BMW-Sauber            (B)  1:13.464  + 1.001   28
13.  Buemi        Toro Rosso-Ferrari    (B)  1:13.503  + 1.040   24
14.  Kubica       BMW-Sauber            (B)  1:13.563  + 1.100   24
15.  Fisichella   Ferrari               (B)  1:13.619  + 1.156   23
16.  Alonso       Renault               (B)  1:13.787  + 1.324   28
17.  Liuzzi       Force India-Mercedes  (B)  1:13.829  + 1.366   26
18.  Kobayashi    Toyota                (B)  1:14.029  + 1.566   27
19.  Alguersuari  Toro Rosso-Ferrari    (B)  1:14.040  + 1.577   38
20.  Grosjean     Renault               (B)  1:14.173  + 1.710   23

All Timing Unofficial

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