Formula 1 News

Mercedes on top in first practice at Suzuka

Lewis Hamilton led a Mercedes 1-2 in the first practice session for the Japanese Grand Prix, ahead of the Red Bull pair of Vettel and Webber
Friday, October 11, 2013

October 11th, 2013 (F1Plus / Chris Cameron-Dow) - Lewis Hamilton and Mercedes had the best possible start to the Japanese Grand Prix weekend, setting the pace in the first practice session a fair way ahead of the Red Bulls. Nico Rosberg was second fastest, also for Mercedes, with championship leader Sebastian Vettel third.

Hamilton lapped the Suzuka circuit in 1 minute 34.157 seconds, a third of a second quicker than team-mate Rosberg and a full six tenths of a second faster than Vettel. While it's unlikely that the Mercedes is that much quicker in true pace than the Red Bull, it looks like Mercedes are set for a very strong race weekend as they seek to add to their tally of 3 race victories this season.

The Ferrari pair of Fernando Alonso and Felipe Massa were fifth and sixth fastest in FP1, followed by the Lotus pair of Romain Grosjean and Kimi Raikkonen, with Grosjean outpacing his team-mate once again in practice. It seems that Raikkonen has a small upper hand in the races of late, but Grosjean has had superior practice pace for a few races.

Sergio Perez and Daniel Ricciardo completed the top ten.

For the FP1 session, Caterham's Charles Pic gave up his Caterham to Heikki Kovalainen, who has been assisting with Caterham's development work at various races this season. Pic will be back in the cockpit for second practice later today.

It was a busy session for the marshals, who had a few on-track incidents to clean up. Jules Bianchi was the first driver to crash, losing control of his Marussia in the second Degner corner. A little over 35 minutes later, Giedo van der Garde crashed his Caterham in the same corner, while Pastor Maldoando's Williams shed its left-rear wheel going through the Spoon curve.

Max Chilton provided the final piece of action in the session, spinning in the first corner with just a minute to go in FP1. He kept his Marussia far away from the barriers and carried on.

Free Practice 2 starts at 14:00 local time in Suzuka. In the second session, the option tyres (this weekend the medium compound) will be used for the first time, which should provide a better indication of the relative pace of Red Bull and Mercedes.

Full results from FP1:

Pos No Driver Team Time Gap Laps
1 10 Lewis Hamilton Mercedes 1:34.157   19
2 9 Nico Rosberg Mercedes 1:34.487 0.330 19
3 1 Sebastian Vettel Red Bull Racing-Renault 1:34.768 0.611 24
4 2 Mark Webber Red Bull Racing-Renault 1:34.787 0.630 20
5 4 Felipe Massa Ferrari 1:35.126 0.969 14
6 3 Fernando Alonso Ferrari 1:35.154 0.997 16
7 8 Romain Grosjean Lotus-Renault 1:35.179 1.022 15
8 7 Kimi Räikkönen Lotus-Renault 1:35.364 1.207 17
9 6 Sergio Perez McLaren-Mercedes 1:35.450 1.293 27
10 19 Daniel Ricciardo STR-Ferrari 1:35.635 1.478 19
11 5 Jenson Button McLaren-Mercedes 1:35.868 1.711 22
12 11 Nico Hulkenberg Sauber-Ferrari 1:35.900 1.743 18
13 18 Jean-Eric Vergne STR-Ferrari 1:36.066 1.909 20
14 15 Adrian Sutil Force India-Mercedes 1:36.165 2.008 19
15 16 Pastor Maldonado Williams-Renault 1:36.178 2.021 12
16 17 Valtteri Bottas Williams-Renault 1:36.340 2.183 23
17 14 Paul di Resta Force India-Mercedes 1:36.399 2.242 18
18 12 Esteban Gutierrez Sauber-Ferrari 1:36.760 2.603 22
19 20 Heikki Kovalainen Caterham-Renault 1:37.595 3.438 22
20 22 Jules Bianchi Marussia-Cosworth 1:37.629 3.472 8
21 21 Giedo van der Garde Caterham-Renault 1:38.025 3.868 15
22 23 Max Chilton Marussia-Cosworth 1:38.763 4.606 18


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