Vettel comfortably quickest in first Indian practice
26 October 2012 – Sebastian Vettel topped the timesheets as practice began in India. With a best time of 1:27.619 on Friday morning, the Red Bull driver and championship leader led Jenson Button and Fernando Alonso, with Lewis Hamilton and Mark Webber completing the top five. Esteban Gutiérrez drove for Sauber, as Sergio Pérez was taken ill.
2012 marks the second season in which Formula 1 has visited India, with the Buddh International Circuit located approximately one hour outside of capital city New Delhi. Although the skies may not be as misty this year, the track remains as dusty as ever and for that reason running was limited across the first 20 minutes of the session.
Three reserve drivers were in action. Valtteri Bottas again drove Bruno Senna’s Williams, duly ending the period ahead of Pastor Maldonado. Giedo van der Garde is taking part in all FP1 sessions until the end of the season, bar Texas, and this morning he was in Heikki Kovalainen’s Caterham cockpit. At Sauber, Gutiérrez was drafted in after Pérez headed back to his hotel early on Thursday; the latter hopes to be fit enough to return to action later on.
Vettel edged out Button by three tenths after the German and Alonso has previously registered identical lap times. Daniel Ricciardo enjoyed a consistent session en route to ninth place for Toro Rosso, as Kimi Räikkönen’s Lotus rounded out the top ten after the Finn had learned the race track. Bottas made 11th spot as Williams ran back-to-back front wing comparisons.
Vettel, who dominated the weekend with pole position, race victory and fastest lap 12 months ago, is expected to stay on top should problems not intervene this afternoon.
Second practice begins at 2pm local time (BST +4:30) and can also be followed through the interactive GPUpdate.net Live Report