Daily Archives: October 5, 2012

Japanese Grand Prix practice: Webber back on top, with Hamilton close behind

After two dismal showings, Mark Webber appears to be getting back on top of his game, leading Friday practice for the Japanese Grand Prix.

After extensive re-surfacing on the majority of the track over the winter, the times tumbled throughout both sessions, and a late time on the softer time put the Red Bull on top.

First practice

Lewis Hamilton was the first driver to set a fast lap, and spent most of the session battling against Webber and teammate Jenson Button.

A 1:34.507 was enough to put Jenson on top, with Lewis slotting in 2 tenths of a second behind.

Nico Rosberg’s best lap was good enough for 4th, but he soon pulled over at the Esses with an unspecified technical problem. Despite announcing his retirement yesterday, there was no drop-off in pace from Michael Schumacher, who was only 0.06 seconds off Rosberg.

Local favourite Kamui Kobayashi pleased the crowd with 6th, despite nearly losing the car at the exit of the Spoon curve. Fernando Alonso ran with high fuel loads in the morning, and was 11th.

Giedo van der Garde made his second appearance in a Caterham, taking 23rd, over a second off Vitaly Petrov.

Times from FP1:

 1.  Jenson Button         McLaren-Mercedes      1:34.507           20
 2.  Lewis Hamilton        McLaren-Mercedes      1:34.740  +0.233   26
 3.  Mark Webber           Red Bull-Renault      1:34.856  +0.349   24
 4.  Nico Rosberg          Mercedes              1:35.059  +0.552   18
 5.  Michael Schumacher    Mercedes              1:35.112  +0.615   20
 6.  Kamui Kobayashi       Sauber-Ferrari        1:35.199  +0.692   27
 7.  Felipe Massa          Ferrari               1:35.283  +0.776   24
 8.  Paul di Resta         Force India-Mercedes  1:35.474  +0.967   22
10.  Pastor Maldonado      Williams-Renault      1:35.478  +0.971   24
11.  Fernando Alonso       Ferrari               1:35.484  +0.977   26
12.  Sergio Perez          Sauber-Ferrari        1:35.584  +1.077   24
13.  Kimi Raikkonen        Lotus-Renault         1:35.691  +1.184   22
14.  Romain Grosjean       Lotus-Renault         1:35.724  +1.217   21
15.  Daniel Ricciardo      Toro Rosso-Ferrari    1:36.123  +1.616   19
16.  Jean-Eric Vergne      Toro Rosso-Ferrari    1:36.222  +1.715   25
17.  Sebastian Vettel      Red Bull-Renault      1:36.366  +1.859   23
18.  Valterri Bottas       Williams-Renault      1:36.389  +1.882   24
19.  Timo Glock            Marussia-Cosworth     1:37.716  +3.209   17 
20.  Vitaly Petrov         Caterham-Renault      1:38.295  +3.788   23
21.  Charles Pic           Marussia-Cosworth     1:38.616  +4.109   25
22.  Narain Karthikeyan    HRT-Cosworth          1:39.043  +4.536   25
23.  Giedo van der Garde   Caterham-Renault      1:39.374  +4.867   22
24.  Pedro de la Rosa      HRT-Cosworth          1:39.688  +5.181   19

Second practice

After a fuel-laden run in FP1, Sebastian Vettel was battling at the top again in FP2. He, along with Romain Grosjean, Jenson Button, Lewis Hamilton and Mark Webber all had moments on top of the timesheets.

Paul di Resta caused the first red flag of the weekend, spinning into Spoon curve and hitting the barriers. That move was replicated by Michael Schumacher in the closing stages, with similar results.

Kimi Raikkonen suffered a KERS failure while out on track, disrupting his running and leaving him 14th.

Vitaly Petrov had a scare at Turn 1, after his Caterham’s rear wing came off, but luckily he managed to stop the car without slamming into the tyre wall.

Times from FP2:

 1.  Mark Webber           Red Bull-Renault      1:32.493           34
 2.  Lewis Hamilton        McLaren-Mercedes      1:32.707  +0.214   32
 3.  Sebastian Vettel      Red Bull-Renault      1:32.836  +0.343   37
 4.  Nico Hulkenberg       Force India-Mercedes  1:32.987  +0.494   30
 5.  Fernando Alonso       Ferrari               1:33.093  +0.600   28
 6.  Romain Grosjean       Lotus-Renault         1:33.107  +0.614   35
 7.  Jenson Button         McLaren-Mercedes      1:33.349  +0.856   22
 8.  Bruno Senna           Williams-Renault      1:33.499  +1.006   35
 9.  Felipe Massa          Ferrari               1:33.614  +1.121   32
10.  Michael Schumacher    Mercedes              1:33.750  +1.257   13
11.  Nico Rosberg          Mercedes              1:33.866  +1.373   19
12.  Sergio Perez          Sauber-Ferrari        1:33.903  +1.410   36
13.  Kamui Kobayashi       Sauber-Ferrari        1:33.983  +1.490   33
14.  Kimi Raikkonen        Lotus-Renault         1:34.291  +1.798   12
15.  Pastor Maldonado      Williams-Renault      1:34.300  +1.807   33
16.  Daniel Ricciardo      Toro Rosso-Ferrari    1:34.863  +2.370   32
17.  Jean-Eric Vergne      Toro Rosso-Ferrari    1:35.080  +2.587   34
18.  Heikki Kovalainen     Caterham-Renault      1:35.711  +3.218   41
19.  Vitaly Petrov         Caterham-Renault      1:35.870  +3.377   37
20.  Timo Glock            Marussia-Cosworth     1:36.194  +3.701   32
21.  Charles Pic           Marussia-Cosworth     1:36.636  +4.143   28
22.  Pedro de la Rosa      HRT-Cosworth          1:37.342  +4.849   30
23.  Narain Karthikeyan    HRT-Cosworth          1:37.701  +5.208   35
24.  Paul di Resta         Force India-Mercedes  N/A                 2
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