New Sasol GTC cars set for thrills

The iconic Grand Prix Circuit will present a new challenge to the GTC drivers as they tackle the country’s fastest racetrack on June 16.

Suzuki’s new Swift hatch and sedan in SA

Suzuki kicks off its new model assault with an all new Swift hatchback and standalone sedan called the Dzire.

Merc tops in Korea first practice

2013-10-04 06:46


PLUG IN, CHILL OUT: Mercedes driver Lewis Hamilton chills during first practice for the 2013 Korean F1 GP in Yeongam. Must have worked because he set the fastest time. Image: AFP

YEONGAM, South Korea - Mercedes' Lewis Hamilton kept Red Bull's Sebastian Vettel off the top of the time sheets on Friday in a first practice session for the 2013 Korean F1 GP during which Kimi Raikkonen crashed his Lotus into a tyre wall.

Hamilton lapped the anti-clockwise Yeongam circuit, set against a backdrop of coastal marshes and sprawling South Korean shipyards, with a best time of 1min39.630.

Red Bull's runaway championship leader Vettel, chasing his fourth consecutive win since the end of August and third in succession in Korea, was second quickest, 0.037sec slower after firing in his best lap in the closing seconds.


Raikkonen, who struggled with a sore back in Singapore two weeks earlier, skidded hard into the tyre wall at the final corner in the closing seconds but clambered out of the car without any apparent difficulty. The 2007 champion's time was the eighth-best on a sunny and cloudless day.

Red Bull's Mark Webber, who will have a 10-place grid penalty on Sunday after collecting his third reprimand of the season for a Singapore post-race taxi-ride on Fernando Alonso's Ferrari, was third fastest.

Hamilton's team mate Nico Rosberg reinforced the idea that the battle lines were drawn between Mercedes and Red Bull - again - with the fourth-best time ahead of McLaren's Jenson Button and Alonso.


Vettel is 60 points clear of Alonso with six races remaining, meaning a fourth successive title is almost within reach, and was in a league of his own on the streets of Singapore.

The 26-year-old German is again the favourite although Mercedes could make life harder for him.

Marussia's Venezuelan test driver Rodolfo Gonzalez also hit a tyre wall early in the session when he was almost alone on the circuit.

Britain's James Calado was also given time in the Force India, with compatriot and race regular Paul di Resta sitting out the session.

Stay with Wheels24 for the 2013 Korean GP weekend.

Koren first free-practice times
1 Lewis Hamilton (Britain) Mercedes 1min39.630
2 Sebastian Vettel (Germany) Red Bull 1min39.667
3 Mark Webber (Australia) Re d Bull 1min39.816
4 Nico Rosberg (Germany) Mercedes 1min40.117
5 Jenson Button (Britain) McLaren 1min40.215
6 Fernando Alonso (Spain) Ferrari 1min40.374
7 Romain Grosjean (France) Lotus 1min40.396
8 Kimi Raikkonen (Finland) Lotus 1min40.677
9 Sergio Perez (Mexico) McLaren 1min40.860
10 Felipe Massa (Brazil) Ferrari 1min40.880
11 Nico Huelkenberg (Germany) Sauber 1min40.899
12 Adrian Sutil (Germany) Force India 1min41.432
13 Pastor Maldonado (Venezuela) Williams 1min41.482
14 Esteban Gutierrez (Mexico) Sauber 1min41.626
15 Jean-Eric Vergne (France) Toro Rosso 1min41.924
16 Valtteri Bottas (Finland) Williams 1min42.002
17 Daniel Ricciardo (Australia) Toro Rosso 1min42.043
18 James Calado (Britain) Force India 1min43.008
19 Charles Pic (France) Caterham 1min43.660
20 Giedo van der Garde (Netherlands) Caterham 1min43.883
21 Max Chilton (Britain) Marussia 1min44.100
22 Rodolfo Gonzalez (Venezuela) Marussia 1min46.810
Read more on:    south korea  |  formula 1

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