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Massa sets the pace in practice

2013-04-19 11:10

GETTING AHEAD: Ferrari's Felipe Massa is all smiles after setting the fastest time during first free practice on Friday ahead of the 2013 Bahrain F1 GP. Image: AFP

SAKHIR, Bahrain - Felipe Massa set the fastest time in the first practice for the Bahrain F1 GP on Friday, followed by Ferrari team mate Fernando Alonso.

With a track temperature of 45C and under a clear sky, Massa lapped the Sakhir desert track with a best time of 1min34.487. The man who finished sixth in the previous weekend's Chinese GP was 0.077sec faster than Alonso, who won that race. Mercedes' Nico Rosberg was 0.134sec behind in third followed by Red Bull's Sebastian Vettel, 0.303sec off the pace.

Vettel's team mate, Mark Webber - who will celebrate his 200th race on Sunday (April 21), managed seventh fastest while Lotus driver Kimi Raikkonen was ninth.

The Sakhir GP circuit is one of the hardest tracks on brakes.

Finland's Heikki Kovalainen, dropped by Caterham at the end of 2012, made his return to the team as a reserve driver and lapped 20th of the 22 drivers.

Another reserve, Venezuelan Rodolfo Gonzalez, made his first Friday appearance for Marussia in place of Jules Bianchi but completed only seven laps before being halted by a gearbox problem.

The race has been overshadowed to some degree by the political crisis on the divided Gulf island. While the circuit has been quiet, daily clashes have taken place in nearby villages between pro-democracy protesters and riot police.

First free practice times
1 Felipe Massa (BRA) Ferrari 1min34.487
2 Fernando Alonso (ESP) Ferrari 1min34.564
3 Nico Rosberg (GER) Mercedes 1min34.621
4 Sebastian Vettel (GER) Red Bull 1min34.790
5 Paul di Resta (GBR) Force India 1min34.949
6 Jenson Button (GBR) McLaren 1min35.069
7 Mark Webber (AUS) Red Bull 1min35.101
8 Adrian Sutil (GER) Force India 1min35.119
9 Kimi Raikkonen (FIN) Lotus 1min35.345
10 Romain Grosjean (FRA) Lotus 1min35.611
11 Sergio Perez (MEX) McLaren 1min35.640
12 Valtteri Bottas (FIN) Williams 1min35.783
13 Lewis Hamilton (GBR) Mercedes 1min35.792
14 Jean-Eric Vergne (FRA) Toro Rosso 1min36.014
15 Daniel Ricciardo (AUS) Toro Rosso 1min36.485
16 Pastor Maldonado (VEN) Williams 1min36.498
17 Nico Hulkenberg (GER) Sauber 1min36.755
18 Esteban Gutierrez (MEX) Sauber 1min37.214
19 Charles Pic (FRA) Caterham 1min37.850
20 Heikki Kovalainen (FIN) Caterham 1min38.401
21 Max Chilton (GBR) Marussia 1min39.445


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