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FP1: Mercedes dictates the pace, troubles for Alonso

  • Published on 05 Jul 2013 12:51
  • comments 0
  • By: Rob Veenstra
Mercedes' Lewis Hamilton ended the opening practice session in Germany on top of the timesheets at the Nurburgring on Friday morning. Hamilton's best lap of 1m 31.754s was just over two-tenths of a second quicker than that of team mate Nico Rosberg, who improved right at the end of the 90-minute session to 1m 31.973s.

Mark Webber, third for Red Bull, was a second shy of Hamilton with 1m 32.789s as everybody used Pirelli's revised medium compound tyre, with Adrian Sutil fourth for Force India on 1m 32.822s ahead of Lotus’s Kimi Raikkonen on 1m 32.956s.

Behind them Felipe Massa was Ferrari's primary runner after Fernando Alonso's F138 conked out during his installation lap with electrical gremlins. Although Alonso was sent out again after a fix, the problem appeared to reoccur and the Spaniard failed to set a time.

Massa lapped in 1m 33.065s to head McLaren's Jenson Button on 1m 33.139s, Red Bull's Sebastian Vettel on 1m 33.213s, Lotus's Romain Grosjean on 1m 33.260s, McLaren’s Sergio Perez on 1m 33.456s, Force India's Paul di Resta on 1m 33.493s, Sauber’s Nico Hulkenberg on 1m 33.810s, and Toro Rosso team mates Daniel Ricciardo on 1m 33.901s, and Jean-Eric Vergne on 1m 33.976s.

Behind them, Pastor Maldonado just pipped Williams team mate Valtteri Bottas, 1m 34.025s to 1m 34.200s, with Sauber's Esteban Gutierrez behind them on 1m 34.437s.

Charles Pic was 18th for Caterham on 1m 35.674s with Marussia's Max Chilton right with him on 1m 35.987s, chased by Caterham's Giedo van der Garde on 1m 36.078s and Rodolfo Gonzalez (taking Jules Bianchi’s place in the second Marussia for the session) on 1m 37.459s.

Before practice started the FIA forbade teams from switching tyres from one side of the car to the other, against Pirelli's prescribed direction of rotation, which they had done before in an attempt to eke out longevity. They also mandated minimum starting tyre pressures of 16 psi front and rear and a maximum negative camber angle of four degrees at the front and two point five at the rear.

It's early days and thus it would be premature to draw too many conclusions about the pecking order with the new rules on cambers and tyre pressures, and Pirelli's Kevlar-belted rear tyres, but it's a good sign that 458 laps were covered without any mishaps. (Formula1.com)

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