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Indian GP 2012: First practice

2012-10-26 09:24

GREATER NOIDA, India - Formula 1 championship leader Sebastian Vettel topped the time sheets during the opening practice sesseion ahead of the 2012 Indian F1 GP.

The Red Bull ace, who leads Ferrari's Fernando Alonso by six points with four races remaining, set a best time of 1min27.619 at the hazy Buddh International Circuit south of New Delhi.

McLaren's Jenson Button was second fastest, 0.310 slower, with Alonso in third.

PEREZ NOT WELL?

The top three were in the same order as the 2011 race finishers at the inaugural Indian GP, which Vettel won after having already clinched his second championship.

McLaren's Lewis Hamilton was fourth and Vettel's team mate Mark Webber fifth.

Kimi Raikkonen, third in the championship with Lotus, was 10th-fastest on his first experience of the track.

Esteban Gutierrez replaced compatriot Sergio Perez at Sauber, after the regular race driver was reported to be unwell, and was 20th.

Perez, who is likely to return for second practice, appeared to disagree about his health and said on Twitter that he was ready to drive and it had been a team decision.

Gutierrez is widely expected to replace Perez in 2013. Perez will move to McLaren to take over from Hamilton when he goes to Mercedes.

With the little-used track dusty at the outset, teams took their time to progress beyond installation laps and then focused on gathering data and testing updates before tyre work in the afternoon.

Ferrari, whose wind tunnel data has let them down this season, were trying out updated rear and front wings that they hope will help Alonso take the fight to Vettel.

2012 Indian Grand Prix: First practice session results
1 Sebastian Vettel (Germany) Red Bull 1min27.619
2 Jenson Button (Britain) McLaren 1min27.929
3 Fernando Alonso (Spain) Ferrari 1min28.044
4 Lewis Hamilton (Britain) McLaren 1min28.046
5 Mark Webber (Australia) Red Bull 1min28.175
6 Nico Rosberg (Germany) Mercedes 1min28.447
7 Felipe Massa (Brazil) Ferrari 1min28.542
8 Michael Schumacher (Germany) Mercedes 1min28.993
9 Daniel Ricciardo (Australia) Toro Rosso 1min29.204
10 Kimi Raikkonen (Finland) Lotus 1min29.291
11 Valtteri Bottas (Finland) Williams 1min29.691
12 Paul Di Resta (Britain) Force India 1min29.760
13 Kamui Kobayashi (Japan) Sauber 1min29.802
14 Nico Huelkenberg (Germany) Force India 1min29.850
15 Romain Grosjean (France) Lotus 1min29.895
16 Pastor Maldonado (Venezuela) Williams 1min30.041
17 Jean-Eric Vergne (France) Toro Rosso 1min30.401
18 Vitaly Petrov (Russia) Caterham 1min30.630
19 Giedo van der Garde (Netherlands) Caterham 1min30.896
20 Esteban Gutierrez (Mexico) Sauber 1min31.212
21 Charles Pic (France) Marussia 1min31.903
22 Narain Karthikeyan (India) HRT 1min32.125
23 Timo Glock (Germany) Marussia 1min32.369
24 Pedro de la Rosa (Spain) HRT 1min32.859

Stay with Wheels24 for the Indian Grand Prix weekend.