Alonso fastest in damp opening practice
|2.||P. di Resta||1:55.224|
23 August 2013 – Ferrari driver Fernando Alonso set the pace during a mixed opening practice session at Spa-Francorchamps on Friday morning. The Spaniard, who posted a best time of 1:55.198 during a dry spell, edged out the Force Indias of Paul di Resta and Adrian Sutil, while championship leader Sebastian Vettel finished sixth.
Pre-session rainfall ensured a damp start to the weekend's track action in the Ardennes, with the field opting for Intermediate and Full Wet tyres in the early stages. The McLarens of Jenson Button and Sergio Pérez led this phase, but they slipped down the order amid a flurry of improvements on an ever-drying track surface.
As the dry phase reached its peak with around 20 minutes remaining, it was Alonso who made the most of the conditions, moving ahead of di Resta by 0.021 seconds on the Hard rubber. Sutil backed up his team-mate's performance in third position, while Pérez had to settle for fourth after leading the session on multiple occasions.
Fellow Germans Nico Rosberg and Vettel were next up, the latter spinning at the first corner and logging one of many off-track excursions at the final chicane. Sauber drivers Esteban Gutiérrez and Nico Hülkenberg followed in seventh and eighth respectively, while Daniel Ricciardo and Valtteri Bottas completed the top ten.
At the tail-end of the field, Caterham reserve Heikki Kovalainen stepped in for Charles Pic for the opening 90-minute session. The Finn narrowly outpaced Giedo van der Garde for 16th, with the nearest Marussia of Max Chilton almost a second slower. Lotus' Kimi Räikkönen and Romain Grosjean, again trialling the team's Drag Reduction Device (DRD), brought up the rear after a quiet start to the weekend.
Friday afternoon's second practice session at Spa-Francorchamps begins at 2pm local time (GMT +2) and can be tracked via the GPUpdate.net live report feature