Hamilton edges Vettel, Räikkönen crashes
4 October 2013 – Mercedes driver Lewis Hamilton set the standard during the opening practice session for the Korean Grand Prix on Friday morning. The Briton, who clocked a 1:39.630, edged out reigning triple World Champion Sebastian Vettel by three hundredths of a second, while Kimi Räikkönen suffered a dramatic late accident.
As has traditionally been the case throughout the current campaign, the early stages of the session lacked on-track activity, with most drivers keen to avoid cleaning up the surface. After Sergio Pérez delivered the first competitive run of the day, the lead changed hands on multiple occasions, with Hamilton ultimately coming out on top.
There will be concern for Hamilton and Mercedes, however, with Vettel posting his best run in the dying moments of the session and on tyres that had completed 20 laps. Webber backed up his Red Bull team-mate in third, while Nico Rosberg slipped back to fourth position after spending a phase at the top of the timesheets.
McLaren's Jenson Button and Ferrari driver Fernando Alonso followed, just ahead of Lotus drivers Romain Grosjean and Räikkönen. The latter endured by far the biggest moment of the session with a nasty, high speed accident at the final Turn 17/18 kink, losing the back end of his car before sliding across the track and into the barriers.
Having led in the opening stages of the session, Pérez fell to ninth in his McLaren as the frontrunners emerged, with Felipe Massa – who lost significant track time after a suspected puncture – rounding out the top ten. On his second practice outing for Force India, James Calado wound up 18th after using the best of his tyres early on.
At the back of the field, Charles Pic and Giedo van der Garde put Caterham ahead of key rivals Marussia. Rodolfo González, who took over Jules Bianchi's car for the first session of the weekend, brought up the rear after a clumsy crash at Turn 13.
Friday's second practice session at the Korea International Circuit begins at 2pm local time (GMT +9) and can be tracked via the GPUpdate.net live report feature