Practice 1: Webber top as Alonso blows engine

Mark Webber (AUS) Red Bull Racing RB7.

Mark Webber was fastest on the opening day of the Brazilian GP weekend

Nov.25 (Reuters) Red Bull‘s Mark Webber, with one last chance to win a race in a year dominated by team mate Sebastian Vettel, lapped fastest in first practice for the season-ending Brazilian Formula One Grand Prix on Friday.

The Australian, whose victory at Interlagos in 2009 was overshadowed by Jenson Button winning the title, clocked a best time of one minute 13.811 seconds around an anti-clockwise circuit that ranks as one of his favourites.

Webber was a title contender right to the end last season but has not won since Hungary last year, a run of 25 races without success during which time Vettel has won two championships and 14 grands prix.

Button, who won his title with Brawn and is now chasing his fourth win of the year with McLaren, was second fastest and a mere 0.014 slower on a dry and clear morning in Sao Paulo.

Team mate Lewis Hamilton, who won the 2008 crown at Interlagos and also has three victories in a troubled 2011 campaign, was third on the timesheets while Vettel was fourth.

The top four were split by 0.214 seconds.

Vettel won his second title in Japan with four races to spare and faces something of a dilemma as the season comes to a finish.

The 24-year-old German can take the outright record of 15 poles in a single season if he qualifies fastest on Saturday, but only one driver has won from pole position at Interlagos in the past decade.

Felipe Massa, twice a winner in front of his home crowd and celebrating his 100th start for Ferrari this weekend, was fifth fastest ahead of team mate Fernando Alonso.

Alonso, who won both of his titles with Renault at Interlagos, pulled over with an engine failure at the end of the session.

Czech driver Jan Charouz made his debut in Friday practice with the HRT team and was last on the timing screens.

Charouz, who replaced Italian Vitantonio Liuzzi for the session, was one of a handful of drivers in action who will not take part in Sunday’s race.

Germany’s Nico Hulkenberg, who started last year’s race on pole for Williams and is now Force India reserve, was eighth fastest.

France’s Romain Grosjean, a favourite for a race seat next year now that Poland’s Robert Kubica will not be ready for the season’s start, was in the Renault while compatriot Jean-Eric Vergne had a run with Toro Rosso.

Brazilian Luiz Razia was in the Team Lotus.

Friday, 25 November – Free Practice 1

Pos No Driver Team Time/Retired Gap Laps
1 2 Mark Webber RBR-Renault 1:13.811 26
2 4 Jenson Button McLaren-Mercedes 1:13.825 0.014 25
3 3 Lewis Hamilton McLaren-Mercedes 1:13.961 0.150 20
4 1 Sebastian Vettel RBR-Renault 1:14.025 0.214 28
5 6 Felipe Massa Ferrari 1:14.507 0.696 34
6 5 Fernando Alonso Ferrari 1:14.541 0.730 26
7 7 Michael Schumacher Mercedes 1:15.162 1.351 28
8 14 Nico Hulkenberg Force India-Mercedes 1:15.178 1.367 28
9 15 Paul di Resta Force India-Mercedes 1:15.241 1.430 31
10 8 Nico Rosberg Mercedes 1:15.321 1.510 29
11 19 Jaime Alguersuari STR-Ferrari 1:15.468 1.657 29
12 10 Romain Grosjean Renault 1:15.547 1.736 18
13 11 Rubens Barrichello Williams-Cosworth 1:15.663 1.852 27
14 9 Bruno Senna Renault 1:15.732 1.921 32
15 16 Kamui Kobayashi Sauber-Ferrari 1:15.747 1.936 31
16 12 Pastor Maldonado Williams-Cosworth 1:15.836 2.025 27
17 17 Sergio Perez Sauber-Ferrari 1:15.979 2.168 35
18 18 Jean-Eric Vergne STR-Ferrari 1:16.052 2.241 33
19 20 Heikki Kovalainen Lotus-Renault 1:16.514 2.703 33
20 21 Luiz Razia Lotus-Renault 1:17.595 3.784 31
21 24 Timo Glock Virgin-Cosworth 1:18.140 4.329 29
22 25 Jerome d’Ambrosio Virgin-Cosworth 1:18.653 4.842 29
23 22 Daniel Ricciardo HRT-Cosworth 1:18.952 5.141 33
24 23 Jan Charouz HRT-Cosworth 1:19.577 5.766 37
  • stewy33

    BOOOOO the SKY sponsorships on the RB7’s!!!!