Button ends Australian first practice on top

Button started off his season well

Button started off his season well

The 2012 Formula 1 season kicked off this morning in Melbourne, with Jenson Button finishing the first practice session on top of the timesheets.

Massa ended the session in the gravel trap

Massa ended the session in the gravel trap

Lewis Hamilton completed a McLaren 1-2, going 0.2 seconds off his teammate’s pace.

The session began wet, catching out Nico Rosberg on his out lap. However, the track soon dried out, and the last half hour allowed for use of the slick tyres.

After half an hour, HRT’s only car for FP1, being driven my Narain Karthikeyan, stopped out on track with an engine issue. Pedro de la Rosa’s car was still being assembled during the day, and has been granted immunity from scrutineering by the FIA.

Kimi Raikkonen spent most of his day in the pits complaining of steering problems. He eventually made it out to set 8 laps, finishing 9th.

Felipe Massa touched the grass of Turn 9 under braking, and spun into the gravel trap. His teammate, Fernando Alonso, held a slide on his Ferrari on his final lap at the last corner. So far the F2012 appears to be a handful for both drivers.

Times from FP1:


 1.  Jenson Button         McLaren-Mercedes       1:27.560           11
 2.  Lewis Hamilton        McLaren-Mercedes       1:27.805  +0.245   14
 3.  Michael Schumacher    Mercedes               1:28.235  +0.675   17
 4.  Fernando Alonso       Ferrari                1:28.360  +0.800   21
 5.  Mark Webber           Red Bull-Renault       1:28.467  +0.907   21
 6.  Nico Rosberg          Mercedes               1:28.683  +1.123   22
 7.  Daniel Ricciardo      Toro Rosso-Ferrari     1:28.908  +1.348   23
 8.  Pastor Maldonado      Williams-Renault       1:29.415  +1.855   16
 9.  Kimi Raikkonen        Lotus-Renault          1:29.565  +2.005    8
10.  Kamui Kobayashi       Sauber-Ferrari         1:29.722  +2.162   26
11.  Sebastian Vettel      Red Bull-Renault       1:29.790  +2.230   21
12.  Nico Hulkenberg       Force India-Mercedes   1:29.865  +2.305   17
13.  Paul di Resta         Force India-Mercedes   1:29.881  +2.321   18
14.  Bruno Senna           Williams-Renault       1:29.953  +2.393   21
15.  Sergio Perez          Sauber-Ferrari         1:30.124  +2.564   22
16.  Romain Grosjean       Lotus-Renault          1:30.515  +2.955   16
17.  Heikki Kovalainen     Caterham-Renault       1:30.586  +3.026   16
18.  Felipe Massa          Ferrari                1:30.743  +3.183   11
19.  Jean-Eric Vergne      Toro Rosso-Ferrari     1:31.178  +3.618   17
20.  Vitaly Petrov         Caterham-Renault       1:31.983  +4.423    8
21.  Timo Glock            Marussia-Cosworth      1:34.730  +7.170    8
22.  Charles Pic           Marussia-Cosworth      1:40.256  +12.696  11
23.  Narain Karthikeyan    HRT-Cosworth           N/A                 3
24.  Pedro de la Rosa      HRT-Cosworth           N/A                 0
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