Hamilton crashes out in Japanese FP1 while Vettel leads

Continuing from his dominant victory last year, Sebastian Vettel lead the first practice session for the Japanese Grand Prix in Suzuka this morning.

 

Sebastian Vettel led the first practice session in Suzuka today

Sebastian Vettel led the first practice session in Suzuka today

 

However, Lewis Hamilton’s weekend got off to a terrible start, after crashing into the barriers at Degner, after setting only 9 laps. He ran wide, hit the gravel, and took off most of the front left suspension. He took no further part in the session.

Jenson Button had a simiar moment near the end of the session, but kept his car on track. Despite setting twice as many laps though, Button was 12th, half a second behind Hamilton in 5th.

Up front, Vettel led with a 1.32.585, though Mark Webber was well within striking distance, only 0.05 seconds behind his team-mate. Robert Kubica was half a second behind in 3rd. Adrian Sutil was another 0.5 slower in 4th.

Lewis Hamilton's car being removed from the track

Lewis Hamilton's car being removed from the track

Behind this group came the two Williams drivers, Schumacher, and Nick Heidfeld in 9th, 4 tenths quicker than Kamui Kobayashi.

The Ferraris were 11th and 13th, suggesting that they would be running heavy fuel loads. Vitaly Petrov struggled in 15th, while Buemi and Alguersuari were the slowest of the established teams. The 3 new teams were quite off the pace, with Heikki Kovalainen 4.3 seconds off Vettel’s time.

Jerome D’Ambrosio, in his first practice session in a Formula 1 car, was 22nd, and only 4 tenths off Timo Glock. Bruno Senna and Sakon Yamamoto filled the back row.

Times from FP1:

Pos.
Driver Car Best lap Gap Laps
1 Sebastian Vettel Red Bull-Renault 1’32.585 23
2 Mark Webber Red Bull-Renault 1’32.633 0.048 23
3 Robert Kubica Renault 1’33.129 0.544 23
4 Adrian Sutil Force India-Mercedes 1’33.639 1.054 13
5 Lewis Hamilton McLaren-Mercedes 1’33.643 1.058 9
6 Rubens Barrichello Williams-Cosworth 1’33.677 1.092 21
7 Nico Hülkenberg Williams-Cosworth 1’33.707 1.122 24
8 Michael Schumacher Mercedes 1’33.739 1.154 20
9 Nick Heidfeld Sauber-Ferrari 1’33.791 1.206 23
10 Nico Rosberg Mercedes 1’33.831 1.246 9
11 Felipe Massa Ferrari 1’33.929 1.344 25
12 Jenson Button McLaren-Mercedes 1’34.042 1.457 19
13 Fernando Alonso Ferrari 1’34.169 1.584 23
14 Kamui Kobayashi Sauber-Ferrari 1’34.271 1.686 19
15 Vitaly Petrov Renault 1’34.373 1.788 24
16 Vitantonio Liuzzi Force India-Mercedes 1’34.379 1.794 21
17 Sebastien Buemi Toro Rosso-Ferrari 1’34.991 2.406 26
18 Jaime Alguersuari Toro Rosso-Ferrari 1’35.684 3.099 22
19 Heikki Kovalainen Lotus-Cosworth 1’36.949 4.364 25
20 Timo Glock Virgin-Cosworth 1’37.329 4.744 17
21 Jarno Trulli Lotus-Cosworth 1’37.388 4.803 23
22 Jerome d’Ambrosio Virgin-Cosworth 1’37.778 5.193 23
23 Bruno Senna HRT-Cosworth 1’38.814 6.229 28
24 Sakon Yamamoto HRT-Cosworth 1’39.443 6.858 26
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