Button leads Suzuka first practice while Vettel crashes out

Button led his teammate in first practice

Button led his teammate in first practice

Jenson Button and Lewis Hamilton headed the timesheets for first practice for the Japanese Grand Prix.

The most notable event of the session was championship leader Sebastian Vettel spinning out near the end of the session. The Red Bull driver ran wide at Degner 2, slid onto the gravel and made light contact with the barriers, ending his session.

Earlier on, Vettel was seen admirably using DRS at the 130R corner without backing off.

Despite his incident, he still went 3rd, behind the two McLarens. Fernando Alonso and Mark Webber were 4th and 5th respecively.

Vettel walks away after minor impact with the barriers

Vettel walks away after minor impact with the barriers

Toro Rosso have shown promising pace, with Jaime Alguersuari 6th and Sebastien Buemi 8th. Bruno Senna evaluated Renault’s new bodywork upgrades, but finished just behind his teammate in 11th.

Pastor Maldonado was another driver caught out by the Suzuka track. The Williams ran wide at Turn 6, and pulled over shortly afterwards. It was a poor session for the team, with Maldonado and Rubens Barrichello completing only 19 laps between them.

Nico Hulkenberg took over Adrian Sutil’s Force India, finishing 12th. Both Karun Chandhok and Narain Karthikeyan drove their teams’ cars, and ended the session just behind their respective teammates.

Times from Friday Practice 1:

 1.  Jenson Button         McLaren-Mercedes        1:33.634           20
 2.  Lewis Hamilton        McLaren-Mercedes        1:33.725   0.091   18
 3.  Sebastian Vettel      Red Bull-Renault        1:34.090   0.456   22
 4.  Fernando Alonso       Ferrari                 1:34.372   0.738   24
 5.  Mark Webber           Red Bull-Renault        1:34.426   0.792   25
 6.  Jaime Alguersuari     Toro Rosso-Ferrari      1:34.937   1.303   23
 7.  Felipe Massa          Ferrari                 1:35.585   1.951   27
 8.  Sebastien Buemi       Toro Rosso-Ferrari      1:35.590   1.956   25
 9.  Michael Schumacher    Mercedes                1:36.033   2.399   22
10.  Vitaly Petrov         Renault                 1:36.370   2.736   18
11.  Bruno Senna           Renault                 1:36.487   2.853   18
12.  Nico Hulkenberg       Force India-Mercedes    1:36.700   3.066   21
13.  Kamui Kobayashi       Sauber-Ferrari          1:36.948   3.314   24
14.  Paul di Resta         Force India-Mercedes    1:36.949   3.315   22
15.  Sergio Perez          Sauber-Ferrari          1:37.103   3.469   29
16.  Nico Rosberg          Mercedes                1:38.197   4.563   18
17.  Rubens Barrichello    Williams-Cosworth       1:38.331   4.697   11
18.  Pastor Maldonado      Williams-Cosworth       1:38.446   4.812    8
19.  Jarno Trulli          Lotus-Renault           1:39.168   5.534   10
20.  Karun Chandhok        Lotus-Renault           1:39.946   6.312   22
21.  Timo Glock            Virgin-Cosworth         1:40.872   7.238   13
22.  Jerome D'Ambrosio     Virgin-Cosworth         1:41.019   7.385   24
23.  Daniel Ricciardo      HRT-Cosworth            1:41.106   7.472   25
24.  Narian Karthikeyan    HRT-Cosworth            1:41.775   8.141   25
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