FP1: Alonso on top after rain-hit session at Spa

  • Published on 23 Aug 2013 12:50
  • comments 0
  • By: Rob Veenstra
Fernando Alonso headed a largely inconclusive first practice session for the 2013 Formula 1 Shell Belgian Grand Prix, after early unexpected morning rain left Spa-Francorchamps slick and slippery for the whole 90 minutes. Many drivers set their times and then decided to await circuit improvements that didn't come.

The Spaniard lapped his Ferrari in 1m 55.198s after sitting out much of the early going when conditions were at their worst. Behind him the Force Indias returned to form with Paul di Resta second on 1m 55.224s from Adrian Sutil on 1m 55.373s.

Right behind them came one of the early pacesetters, Sergio Perez in a revised McLaren, with 1m 55.518s, then Mercedes'; Nico Rosberg on 1m 55.614s and Sebastian Vettel for Red Bull on 1m 55.636s. Esteban Gutierrez was the final sub-1m 56s runner for Sauber, with 1m 55.954s, with team mate Nico Hulkenberg right behind him on 1m 56.110s.

Toro Rosso's Daniel Ricciardo was eighth on 1m 56.770s from Valtteri Bottas on 1m 56.858s for Williams, and the 1m 56s bracket was completed by Ferrari's Felipe Massa on 1m 56.863s.

Pastor Maldonado took his Williams round in 1m 57.081s, just pipping Toro Rosso's Jean-Eric Vergne on 1m 57.084s. Jenson Button had been the early pacesetter, ahead of team mate Perez, but after recording 1m 57.281s he was one of those who didn't bother to venture out again. Likewise Lewis Hamilton, who lapped his Mercedes in 1m 57.358s for 15th.

Heikki Kovalainen's return to active duty in Charles Pic's Caterham brought him the 16th fastest time of 1m 57.821s, fractions ahead of team mate Giedo van der Garde on 1m 57.887s. Max Chilton was Marussia's faster runner on 1m 58.600s, ahead of Mark Webber who took his Red Bull to 1m 58.929s before returning early to the garage.

Jules Bianchi was 20th on 1m 59.209s in the second Marussia, while the Lotuses were 21st and 22nd after doing minimal fast running. Kimi Raikkonen arrived after his illness yesterday, and lapped in 1m 59.441s to team mate Romain Grosjean's 2m 03.176s.

Things will probably look quite different if the track dries out this afternoon. (Formula1.com)

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