Vettel leads the way as practice begins in India

2012 Indian Grand Prix first practice

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Sebastian Vettel, Red Bull, Buddh International Circuit, 2012Sebastian Vettel headed the first practice session at Buddh International Circuit.

The Red Bull driver was over three-tenths of a second faster than his closest rivals.

The session got off to a quiet start as drivers discovered the circuit was low on grip during their installation runs.

The Red Bull drivers didn’t set times until more than half the session had been completed. Mark Webber’s second effort was enough to put him quickest, and he later improved to a 1’28.229.

With just over a quarter of an hour left in the session Hamilton persuaded his engineer to let him do an extra lap at the end of his run, feeling there was more pace in the car. He turned out to be right, producing a 1’28.046 to top the times.

It didn’t take long for Red Bull to reassert themselves but this time it was Vettel on top, edging Hamilton’s time by a hundredth of a second.

With less than two minutes remaining Vettel stretched his advantage, setting a 1’27.619 to move four-tenths of a second clear of Alonso and Hamilton.

Button posted a late improvement with a 1’27.929 putting him in second place.

Nico Rosberg was sixth for Mercedes with Daniel Ricciardo’s Toro Rosso also appearing in the top ten.

Esteban Gutierrez took Sergio Perez’s place for the session as the Sauber driver is unwell. “This should help Sergio’s speedy recovery so he is able to drive for the remainder of the weekend,” the team said in a statement.

Gutierrez had a near-miss with the barrier at turn nine and ended the session 20th.

Pos.No.DriverCarBest lapGapLaps
11Sebastian VettelRed Bull-Renault1’27.61922
23Jenson ButtonMcLaren-Mercedes1’27.9290.31022
35Fernando AlonsoFerrari1’28.0440.42524
44Lewis HamiltonMcLaren-Mercedes1’28.0460.42725
52Mark WebberRed Bull-Renault1’28.1750.55622
68Nico RosbergMercedes1’28.4470.82825
76Felipe MassaFerrari1’28.5420.92324
87Michael SchumacherMercedes1’28.9931.37423
916Daniel RicciardoToro Rosso-Ferrari1’29.2041.58524
109Kimi RaikkonenLotus-Renault1’29.2911.67224
1119Valtteri BottasWilliams-Renault1’29.6912.07226
1211Paul di RestaForce India-Mercedes1’29.7602.14123
1314Kamui KobayashiSauber-Ferrari1’29.8022.18318
1412Nico HulkenbergForce India-Mercedes1’29.8502.23119
1510Romain GrosjeanLotus-Renault1’29.8952.27619
1618Pastor MaldonadoWilliams-Renault1’30.0412.42226
1717Jean-Eric VergneToro Rosso-Ferrari1’30.4012.78223
1821Vitaly PetrovCaterham-Renault1’30.6303.01124
1920Giedo van der GardeCaterham-Renault1’30.8963.27720
2015Esteban GutierrezSauber-Ferrari1’31.2123.59329
2125Charles PicMarussia-Cosworth1’31.9034.28422
2223Narain KarthikeyanHRT-Cosworth1’32.1254.50624
2324Timo GlockMarussia-Cosworth1’32.3694.75019
2422Pedro de la RosaHRT-Cosworth1’32.8595.24013

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    30 comments on “Vettel leads the way as practice begins in India”

    1. yay! gonna be another predictable weekend! oh the excitement of the drivers championship!

      1. @harvs How did you come to that conclusion?!

      2. Where’s the exitement in Vettel building on his lead?

        1. His second statement was clearly sarcasm I believe.

          1. That, or he believes Button is still in it to win :P

        2. @bascb – It’s in Alonso striking back just when it looks like Vettel will run away with the title.

          1. Traverse Mark Senior
            26th October 2012, 11:47

            Maybe in your dreams. The reality is Vettel has already won the championship, it’s a matter of when, not if :-(

    2. Not looking good for the championship. Red bull usually hide their pace during practice sessions.

    3. Looks like Red Bull stealing a mile on the competition, although if Button is on it, he might get close and Hamilton proved he is not too far off. Alonso could have a say as well, but he was really having to work that car for fast times so I am not sure how it will then work out for him in the race.

    4. It’s looking a tad ominous. Yes, the gaps between the three top teams appears quite small after this session, but if Red Bull is ahead at all by this stage, they’re usually not showing all their cards and can probably walk the weekend from here. It’s not certain to happen, but I would not bet against them. I’m still hoping and praying for a Lewis or Fernando win, though.

      Also, was anyone else watching Sky F1’s coverage? Ted’s “deploying” the umberella phrase was quite amusing. Croft’s response, though: “Will you be deploying your dampness prevention device anytime soon, Ted?”

      1. yes that comment made me chuckle

    5. Unless Ferrari can find half a second somewhere in the myriad of aeros they’ve brought with this weekend…its curtains for Alonso…which is the most likely outcome. Seb looks in his element, like last will be tough for anyone to beat him when he’s on song.

    6. Looks like Perez will be back in the Sauber for the second session.

      1. Great news – I wasn’t overly impressed with Gutierrez’ driving, though that save after the Massakerb-corner was fantastic!

        1. And yet they will likely give him the drive because of sponsorship. Makes me angry/sad. Although to be fair they gave him a really tricky circuit to test on. On saying that he was 1.4s off Kamui and Geido went a couple of tenths faster in a Caterham! You can’t tell me that isn’t embarrassing, when we all know the Caterham’s are 1-2 seconds slower car than the Sauber.

    7. The harder tyres held up a bit too well, anyone starting outside the top 10 will probably be on a one-stopper.

      1. Bob (@bobthevulcan)
        26th October 2012, 8:11

        Was wandering about that since reading Karthikeyan’s statement about wear not being an issue. Could we see Sauber in contention for another podium?

        1. why does wear=no issue = Sauber?

          1. Because they have successfully deployed the alternative strategy to gain podiums this season.. Doh!

            1. @LJ ummm… No. If the tyres hold up, then EVERYONE can do less stops. It huurts the Sauber as their kinder tyre action doesn’t come into play.

            2. Bob (@bobthevulcan)
              26th October 2012, 17:15

              @raymondu999 – I think there’s a good chance it may come into play. Last year, most teams went for two-stop strategies. With this year’s softer tyre compounds, we’re likely to see two-stoppers again. Assuming Sauber can manage a one-stopper, they could very well pull off another podium.

            3. @bobthevulcan Don’t get me wrong, I agree with you – but a two stopper indicates that wear was enough of an issue for Sauber to be a contender.

              But if wear was NOT an issue (assuming non-crazy degradation) then everyone would be on a one-stop

    8. Bob (@bobthevulcan)
      26th October 2012, 8:10

      Alonso and the McLarens look about equal on pace, but Vettel looks set for another weekend of surging into the distance from pole. If he carries this pace through, and if the other teams don’t gain ground quickly, a win is all but inevitable. However, I’m cautiously optimistic we’ll see a nice battle for the podium spots – P2 to P5 (Button through Webber) seem very closely matched.

      Further down the order, Bottas looks to be in very good shape, while Lotus seem noticeably off-pace – their warm-weather advantage isn’t really showing, is it?

    9. I would be shocked if anyone other than Vettel took pole this weekend. What I’m really hoping for is – Fernando qualifying in P2 and beating Seb off the line into P1.

      If Seb is still in P1 after the 1st lap of the race.. the WDC is pretty much over

      1. Fernando qualifying in P2 and beating Seb off the line into P1.

        He does that better from P4. :)

      2. @todfod @kingshark
        It seems quite dusty off line, so it might be rather difficult to pull into the lead from P2. But to be P2 into T3 could be the gamechanger. Last year Button was P3 into T3, and picked Webber off into T4.

        Mind you from what I’ve heard they’re bringing in the experts from Bahrain and Abu Dhabi who are bringing in their techniques for keeping dust off the surface. In Bahrain, to memory, they spray the runoffs with a silicon-based gel which prevents the dust and sand there from flying onto the track surface.

    10. Oh no, with the current enormous lead of 6 points Red Bull are enjoying in the drivers championship, and one of their drivers is fastest in FP1. We can safely say 2012’s championship is over. In fact, it’s pointless to even do any more races or even drivers championships. We should just move on to 2020 and give Vettel & Red Bull all the 10 championships.

      1. @kingshark I agree. All hail the 10-time WDC! :P

        1. @raymondu999
          Never mind, Webber should get credit to at least 6 of those championships. :P

          1. @kingshark oh? 6 only? Who wins the other 4 WCC titles? :P

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