Lewis Hamilton, Mercedes, Suzuka, 2013

Mercedes head eventful first session at Suzuka

2013 Japanese Grand Prix first practice

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Lewis Hamilton, Mercedes, Suzuka, 2013Mercedes were comfortably quickest in the first practice session for the Japanese Grand Prix, Lewis Hamilton over six-tenths of a second faster than the next team.

Nico Rosberg made it a one-two for Mercedes followed by Sebastian Vettel’s Red Bull.

There was little to separate the two RB9s, Vettel less than two-hundredths of a second faster than Mark Webber.

The Ferraris and Lotuses were next, Romain Grosjean having gone off at Spoon Curve earlier in the session as he struggled with rear instability.

Other drivers had more serious problems. Jules Bianchi’s first session at Suzuka lasted just half an hour.

The Marussia driver went off at Degner 2 on his ninth lap, the car flicking to oversteer at the apex. Bianchi applied opposite lock but found his arm was jammed against the side of the cockpit as he tried to straighten the car. That sent him into the barrier, damaging the front-left corner.

Later in the session Bianchi’s damaged Marussia was joined by Giedo van der Garde’s car. The Caterham driver locked his brakes at the same corner and came to a stop in the gravel trap just shy of the barrier.

At the same time Pastor Maldonado had an unusual failure at Spoon Curve. His left-rear wheel came loose which pitched him into a spin, after which it came off completely.

Pos.No.DriverCarBest lapGapLaps
110Lewis HamiltonMercedes1’34.15719
29Nico RosbergMercedes1’34.4870.33019
31Sebastian VettelRed Bull-Renault1’34.7680.61124
42Mark WebberRed Bull-Renault1’34.7870.63020
54Felipe MassaFerrari1’35.1260.96914
63Fernando AlonsoFerrari1’35.1540.99716
78Romain GrosjeanLotus-Renault1’35.1791.02215
87Kimi RaikkonenLotus-Renault1’35.3641.20717
96Sergio PerezMcLaren1’35.4501.29327
1019Daniel RicciardoToro Rosso-Ferrari1’35.6351.47819
115Jenson ButtonMcLaren1’35.8681.71122
1211Nico HulkenbergSauber-Ferrari1’35.9001.74318
1318Jean-Eric VergneToro Rosso-Ferrari1’36.0661.90920
1415Adrian SutilForce India-Mercedes1’36.1652.00819
1516Pastor MaldonadoWilliams-Renault1’36.1782.02112
1617Valtteri BottasWilliams-Renault1’36.3402.18323
1714Paul di RestaForce India-Mercedes1’36.3992.24218
1812Esteban GutierrezSauber-Ferrari1’36.7602.60322
1920Heikki KovalainenCaterham-Renault1’37.5953.43822
2022Jules BianchiMarussia-Cosworth1’37.6293.4728
2121Giedo van der GardeCaterham-Renault1’38.0253.86815
2223Max ChiltonMarussia-Cosworth1’38.7634.60618

2013 Japanese Grand Prix

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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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26 comments on “Mercedes head eventful first session at Suzuka”

  1. Yeah..RB just sand bagging..Seb will be on pole tomorrow.

    1. Yeah, this even occurred in Korea’s FP1 as well.

    2. They could be, but Merc have been good at the high downforce twisty bits when tire degradation issues didn’t affect their pacing. Pole will be between Merc and RB, and hopefully down to the wire.

      1. Mercedes were faster than Red Bull sector two at Korea, which is very similar to the Suzuka circuit in general, so I’m not too sure if RBR will be faster than Merc on Saturday.

  2. Button’s lack of pace really ruined the top 10.

    1. There goes a perfect combo! >.<

    2. And this is supposed to be his favourite circuit.

  3. His left-right wheel came loose which pitched him into a spin, after which it came off completely.

    Im guessing that should be Left-Rear wheel?

  4. Hope Mercedes can translate this into race pace! Need something to spice up the week-end! Glad Van Der Garde, Bianchi and Maldonado are looking fine, those crashes were nasty!

  5. Chris (@tophercheese21)
    11th October 2013, 4:07

    Lotuses were next

    *Loti

    1. I doubt it’s applied to this case, since it’s the plural of a proper noun and not a common one.

      1. Chris (@tophercheese21)
        11th October 2013, 5:08

        No i know, im just saying that Loti sounds better than Lotuses.

        1. Loti sounds like the malay word for bread, roti.

          1. Is it pronounced that way though? My initial thought was that it’s pronounced as ‘Lo-ty’, rhyming with loci (Which is also the plural of locus, which rhymes with Lotus :P)

          2. Chris (@tophercheese21)
            17th October 2013, 11:38

            @woshidavid95

            Yeah, lol

            Pron: Lote – Eye

  6. What a pleasure it is to see a circuit that punishes mistakes.

    Grass and gravel is underrated.

    1. Well, a non-street circuit, anyway. Singapore’s barriers were 2 races ago.

      1. Yes good point however even Singapore has a number of corners where running wide over the incredibly-flat kerbs means that you simply run on to more asphalt and off you go.

        Mark my words it is simply a matter of time before the FIA introduces a ‘GPS engine limiting device’ (GELD device?) for when drivers go all four wheels off the track. Remember Geoff Crammond’s GP2 when the game would slow you down for cutting the track? That’s what F1 will be in a few years time…

        IMO tracks should be lined with grass and gravel that punishes the little mistakes. What would the Degner turns be if they were altered to have flat kerbs and an airfield of flat run-off around them?

        Similarly a number of Tilke-tracks would come alive with a bit of grass, gravel and raised kerbing.

        1. ‘GPS engine limiting device’

          If only GPS was accurate enough (it’s only accurate to within 5-10 metres at best) :)

    2. I completely agree – I know that having asphalt runoff areas has decreased the number of crashes and retirements, but really speaking, it has dulled racing a lot. F1 drivers are supposed to be the best in the world – why not keep the challenge? They should be pushing to perfection, and in this case, not getting tyres onto the gravel would be the best indicator of this.

      1. I would like to have some kind of surface material in the run-off areas that stops still allows you to stay in the race but gives a severe time penalty (maybe 15 seconds or so depending on how far off you are).

        1. Treacle!

          1. Fly-paper!

    3. Degner has always been a tricky corner. People regularly go off there on a GP weekend. It’s the Ste. Devote of Suzuka. You come through that semi-flat Degner 1, then have to line up for a slow, sharp, downhill turn right after.

  7. The Marussia driver went off at Degner 2 on his ninth lap, the car flicking to oversteer at the apex. Bianchi applied opposite lock but found his arm was jammed against the side of the cockpit as he tried to straighten the car. That sent him into the barrier, damaging the front-left corner.

    I knew something odd had happened ! it looked like he got oversteer, corrected it, and turned into the wall… the car was recovered like 5 meters before the kerb but he was still going left ! weird to see this happen !

    1. If the cockpit is too tight for the driver to properly turn the wheel in any situation, how is that not a safety issue?

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