Webber snatches fastest time from Vettel

2011 Australian Grand Prix

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Mark Webber, Red Bull, Melbourne, 2011

Mark Webber set the fastest time in the dying moments of the first practice session in Melbourne.

The Red Bull driver hit the top of the times early in the session but was overhauled by Sebastian Vettel shortly afterwards. Vettel posted a 1’27.739 but by the end of his stint his tyres had visibly deteriorated.

The Ferrari of Fernando Alonso split the pair of them later in the session, falling short of the fastest time by just a hundredth of a second.

In the final minutes the Red Bulls took to the track again and Webber briefly saw the top of the times again – only to be pegged back by his team mate once more.

But Webber had a little more in hand and with his final lap of the session lowered the best time to a 1’26.831.

The two Mercedes also showed some potential – at one point Nico Rosberg did the fastest time over the first two sectors before backing off in the third.

Jenson Button and Lewis Hamilton were sixth and seventh having made an early start to the session in the revised McLaren.

But Karun Chandhok had a disastrous return to F1 with Lotus as he crashed on his first lap. The T128 snapped right as he accelerated out of turn three, putting him in the barrier.

He at least got further than F1’s other Indian driver Narain Karthikeyan. He and team mate Vitantonio Liuzzi spent the session in the pits while the HRT mechanics scrambled to get their cars finished.

Several drivers had off-track moments during the session including Felipe Massa, who had a particularly large lock-up at the first corner.

Virgin were well off the pace in the first session and failed to lap within 7% of the fastest time by 2.3 seconds.

Pos.CarDriverCarBest lapGap
12Mark WebberRed Bull-Renault1’26.83120
21Sebastian VettelRed Bull-Renault1’27.1580.32719
35Fernando AlonsoFerrari1’27.7490.91820
48Nico RosbergMercedes1’28.1521.32116
511Rubens BarrichelloWilliams-Cosworth1’28.4301.59924
64Jenson ButtonMcLaren-Mercedes1’28.4401.60929
73Lewis HamiltonMcLaren-Mercedes1’28.4831.65226
87Michael SchumacherMercedes1’28.6901.85914
916Kamui KobayashiSauber-Ferrari1’28.7251.89413
1010Vitaly PetrovRenault1’28.7651.93415
116Felipe MassaFerrari1’28.8422.01120
129Nick HeidfeldRenault1’28.9282.09714
1314Adrian SutilForce India-Mercedes1’29.3142.48319
1418Sebastien BuemiToro Rosso-Ferrari1’29.3282.49721
1512Pastor MaldonadoWilliams-Cosworth1’29.4032.57224
1619Daniel RicciardoToro Rosso-Ferrari1’29.4682.63723
1717Sergio PerezSauber-Ferrari1’29.6432.81218
1815Nico HulkenbergForce India-Mercedes1’31.0024.17120
1920Heikki KovalainenLotus-Renault1’32.4285.59713
2025Jerome d’AmbrosioVirgin-Cosworth1’35.2828.45117
2124Timo GlockVirgin-Cosworth1’35.2898.45815

2011 Australian Grand Prix

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    Author information

    Keith Collantine
    Lifelong motor sport fan Keith set up RaceFans in 2005 - when it was originally called F1 Fanatic. Having previously worked as a motoring...

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    77 comments on “Webber snatches fastest time from Vettel”

    1. Business as usual for RBR and Alonso but really great to see:

      1. McLarens getting up to speed.
      2. Rosberg and Barrichello in the top 5.
      2. Kobayashi in the top 10.

      1. HRT not too many miles?

        1. HRT NO miles.
          I doubt they or Virgin will qualify. For Virgin this is a shame, for HRT, well, come on people, you’ve had months now. If you can’t put your car together in time, how are your drivers suposed to a) drive it and b) set anywhere near a competitive time

    2. You amaze me with how quickly you get this out Keith!
      That said, interesting session, I can’t help but say go Webber! Nice to see him do well in front of the home crowd.

      1. I know right. It was up barely a minute I think after the BBC live coverage ended their broadcast. How does he type that fast, yet alone get all the stats and then post it up all formatted correctly?

        Keith rules.

        1. And not a mistake in sight, great work!!!

          1. jsw11984 (@jarred-walmsley)
            25th March 2011, 3:25

            I can spot one, (Mercedes-Ferrari) but for the first entry of the season and the speed at which Keith gets them up, 1 mistake is pretty good.

          2. DeadManWoking
            25th March 2011, 3:32

            7%? :)

            1. By my reckoning all the cars who set a time were within 7% of WEB, Glock was 6.66% off the pace.

            2. Sorry I don’t see what you’re getting at here – they were more than 7% slower than Webber (i.e. more than a 1’32.909).

              Mateuss, Glock was 9.74% slower than Webber.

            3. Sorry, thats a bit embarrassing – forgetting there is 60s in 1min not 100 :D Its 5am thought if thats any excuse.

            4. Yeah, more great work Keith.

              I really hope the Virgin cars can get within the 107% rule, I think it would go a long way to dampen the event if they can’t compete.

            5. DeadManWoking
              25th March 2011, 4:03

              You’re right, Keith, it’s the wording that caught me out, I expected to see ‘failed to lap within 107% of the fastest time by 2.3 seconds.’

      2. Thanks guys :-)

        1. It doesn’t matter anyway as Red BUll, Ferrair etc… are all close to their Q1 pace in comparison to Virin who will turn the engine up etc…

          All the times will improve becasue the track is green, but Red BUll will make sure they aern’t going to run out of fuel and their engines wont be turned up to max. HRT, Virign etc.. will do all of that and hence they will be comparitively faster in Q1, then once it gets to Q3 Ferrari, Red BUll etc.. will all set faster times thatn their Q1 pace while HRT and Virgin will have set their max pace in Q1.

          Makes sense? In Short if they make a hot lap in Q1 then they shouldn’t fall below the 7% simply because those that race the benchmark time aren’t racing anywhere near full speed hence making it easier to reach

          1. Maybe, but given all the new variables and regulations, I don’t think any midfield team is going to want to risk getting caught out in Q1, which means that in turn, no top team will want to be caught out by the midfield cars. In future races once the pecking order is essentially established, I think you’re right, but with the uncertainty of pace this weekend, I think the top teams will be giving it their best to make sure they get into Q2.

    3. It was a nice last lap from Webber. Gives Vettel something to think about.

      Couldn’t believe Chandhok though…..

      1. I really hope he gets in with the 5Live crew later and talk us through that!

        1. I wonder even though it didn’t look like it whether he put a short burst of power down, lost traction and in conjunction lost the rear.

          Strange crash.

    4. Ricciardo’s name is invisible … anyway glad to see him ahead of Buemi. I hope he can keep that up all year.

      Webber’s time is good, but I don’t think we have seen top speed for any driver yet.

      1. Well obviously the times will drop significantly by P3 but all the teams were running the same programs in that session. Webber just hooked up a sweet lap.

    5. On the 5Live coverage, they first had Liuzzi commenting that his car should be ready during FP1 and both for FP2. Later they commented on him sitting on the pitwall in jeans and the team not even working on the car.

      Customs again?

      Mclaren seem to have got reliability fixed with the new parts. Never saw a complete diffusor covered in heat resistant coating before. Speed looks a bit better than might be expected from them as well. And first strike for Webber in the battle of the Bulls.

      Great to have the season starting again.

    6. Those Red Bull fast laps were using the actuated rear wing to full capacity. I didn’t see Alonso’s lap but the McLaren and Mercedes laps were not actuating the rear wings at all, it appeared.

      1. McLaren and Mercedes may not have the downforce to be able to run the wing open nearly as frequently as Red Bull, which if that’s true, I think we’ll see lots of Red Bull poles again this year…

        1. Why would that be? The wing can only be activated at the very end of the straights where downforce is pretty irrelevant.

          1. In FP en Quali u can use the wing when and where u want

    7. And very important, HD feed really makes a difference.

      1. Was that with the BBC site? I was trying to find that. Where is it? I watched it in SD.

      2. James Williams
        25th March 2011, 3:24

        BBC don’t broadcast the practice sessions in HD. They get a HD feed from Melbourne.. but have to broadcast it to us in SD

        1. Still, maybe the higher quality feed might make the subsequent downscale be an improvement to the previous result?

    8. 4 8 Nico Rosberg Mercedes-Ferrari 1’28.152 1.321
      5 11 Rubens Barrichello Williams-Cosworth 1’28.430 1.599
      6 4 Jenson Button McLaren-Mercedes 1’28.440 1.609
      7 3 Lewis Hamilton McLaren-Mercedes 1’28.483 1.652
      8 7 Michael Schumacher Mercedes-Ferrari 1’28.690 1.859

      Glad to see Rosberg’s Ferrari up there!

    9. It was interesting watching Alonso’s onboards with that red light on the wheel to show when FFW is activated, also looked like Macca did a lot of laps without FFW, suggesting they were more concentrated of learning race setup, which is what you would expect in FP1, although looked like all the other teams were using the FFW for most of the time, I guess to give the drivers some more practice with it.

      1. FFW? Do you mean DRS?

        1. Flippy Flappy Wing.

          A genius of observations came up with the phrase.

          1. I think you could string together any 3 random letters and come up with a name for this device!

            I heard RFA in FP2 this morning.

            1. Yes, in Mercedes its Rear Flap Adjuster (probably for radio clearance, as is ‘A-firm’ and other of their radio slang), but Flippy Flappy Wing is funnier. :D

    10. Is it just me, or does the williams sound abit ‘different’ in the down changes?

      1. I’m glad I am not the only one who noticed that. It does indeed sound different.

    11. Whats a Mercedes-Ferrari?

      1. Michael Schumacher’s trying to emulate his glory days with this new team.

    12. mercedes-ferrari wudve been a beautiful car…

    13. Mercedes-Ferrari?

    14. Mark looked as if he had some serious intent.

      1. Yeah he did, I liked seeing that. It would be pretty neat if he won in front of his home crowd. I don’t think anyone has since Hamilton and Massa both did in 08.

    15. Nico Rosberg Mercedes-Ferrari 1’28.152 1.321

      ferrari motor? that’s new :P

      1. Not entirely error-free then! Have fixed it, thanks.

      2. James Williams
        25th March 2011, 3:50

        LOL I noticed that.. ***

    16. Mercedes again running thAT Brawn wing, and Rosberg again faster than Michael. Also i couldn.t clearly see the silver paint on pirelli tyres. Massa what the hell was doing? he made more mistakes than Perez did.

      1. I know the amount of lock ups was ridiculous from Massa. While Alonso was going about his his business without massive plumes of smoke coming from the tyres.

        1. Some of the lock ups were spectacular though, it was one of the FI cars that just shot past the turn 1 with quite a lot of speed and in a big cloud of smoke.

          1. Oh my gosh yes, I saw that FI lockup, it was intense!!!

      2. I could see the paint fine from track side cameras but onboard it is hard to see.

        It really doesn’t matter that much though. If we can’t see the yellow paint then there’s a problem.

        1. DeadManWoking
          25th March 2011, 3:43

          I couldn’t see the silver from the onboards either but the yellow should show up on them.

    17. Lotus have said there was no technical problem with Chandhok’s car.

      1. It’s weird, though. The reverse angle of the accident shows Chandhok clearing the corner and then the car just snaps to one side without warning, which is usually a sign of a mechanical failure.

        Then again the T128 hasn’t exactly had bombproof reliability in testing. Maybe they’re just trying to save face.

      2. So driver error then?…no other drivers seemed to have problems coming out of turn 3.

        1. The suggestion has been that a cold circuit and a lack of grip from the Pirellis were major contributors. It still doesn’t explain how or why Chandhok lost it like that.

          1. DeadManWoking
            25th March 2011, 4:11

            I seem to remember the 5Live guys saying something about a hitting a damp patch on the track under acceleration.

        2. Yep driver error plain and simple. Pretty embarrassing, I would hate to be him right now.

          1. Especially since he was to be negotiating the rest of his season at Lotus (including potential race seat for the Indian GP) this weekend. That’s not going to help his cause.

    18. Awesome work, as always, Keith.

    19. I don’t understand Force India’s approachh. Paul di Resta has never been the Melbourne, and needs to learn the circuit; simulators can only teach you so much. Force India’s briliant solution was to put him on the sidelines and stick Nico Hulkenberg in the car.

      In Force India’s position, I wouldn’t go putting Hulkenberg into a car until the European season and circuits di Resta knows.

      1. Maybe its in Hulk’s contract to get one practice session per race?

        1. Possibly, but common sense dictates that when your rookie doesn’t know the circuit, you give him as much track time as possible. Adrian Sutil is in his fifth season now, so he knows Albert Park. He can afford to skip a session or two. But at the same time, FP1 is usaully about evaluating new parts and the condition of the circuit, so Sutil will be able to provide so much more feedback than di Resta could.

          So at the end of the day, putting Hulkenberg in the car is fairly useless.

          1. Absolutely true. FI seem to clearly have lost the direction towards the top of the field now.

          2. Great point PM. It surprised me, but I will admit I didn’t analyze it the way you did. Makes me wonder what is wrong with them.

      2. Yes I was surprised by that too.

    20. Can’t believe I’ve decided to stay awake between the sessions just incase I slept through the alarm!

    21. Mercedes-Ferrari will win both title for sure!

    22. Something very interesting I just gleaned from the V8 Supercars shoot-out: the circuit is getting slower. Because the V8s and the other support races are running different tyres to the Formula 1 cars and because of the composition of the Pirellis, the support races are not laying rubber down, but actually sweeping it away. The first few V8 laps have been quick, but the cars are gradually getting slower and the commentators are speculating that support races are gradually removing the rubber. So where the track would usually get more and more grip as the weekend goes on, it’s actually remaining fairly static. The Formula 1 cars put rubber down, but the support races are removing it, so the track could very well remain green all weekend long.

      1. Interesting point. Australia tends to have more support races than most other events though. And in the European rounds the GP2 cars will be laying down the same Pirelli rubber used by the F1 cars.

        1. Read into it what you will – the V8 Supercars had a different qualifying format this year, with the top eight of the top ten running in reverse order for the qualifying shootout (they had some weird system of reversing the grid based on chance). The last few guys to go out in particular were the midfielders who occasionally make it into the top ten shootouts, and they usually have to use up their tyres a little more than the others to make it. So some of the times were a result of worn rubber, but I’ve definately noticed a slowdown in lap times in the Carerra Cup. So where the Pirellis aren’t putting much rubber down to begin with, at least some of it is being picked back up or pushed aside.

    23. Good to see both drivers of each team in the list! I got used to that testing too much!

    24. Good start for Roseberg.

    25. Gonna have to really scrutinise these times tonight so I can get my ‘educated’ attempt at a prediction in for the F1F Predictions Championship :D

    26. First practice was the first time I had seen footage of the 2011 cars in action and a couple of things which stood out for me was seeing the moveable rear wing working and how much better the cars looked without the shark fins.

    27. Anybody have more info on Kobayashi losing his right enginecover during p1?
      It was mentioned during the BBC coverage, but there were no images, only big parts of white debris on the track…
      Does Sauber have a problem with the bodywork?

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