Yeongam Practice 1: Hamilton sets early pace from Alonso 12 October, 2012 Lewis Hamilton was fastest in the opening session of the Korean GP weekend Oct.12 (GP247) McLaren driver Lewis Hamilton set a blistering early pace in the opening free practice session of the Korean Grand Prix weekend, at Yeongam. Hamilton, who still has a mathematical chance at the title, topped the timing screens after the first ninety minutes of action with a best time of 1 minute 39.148 seconds, which was 0.302 seconds up on next best Fernando Alonso in the Ferrari who along with the McLaren driver spent most of the session at the top of the timing screened. Alonso, the championship leader by a mere four points, and his team looked to be pushing the F2012 to the maximum as they try and extract maximum qualifying pace to avoid starting in down the grid where they have been susceptible to first corner incidents. Third quickest was Mark Webber in the Red Bull which suggests that the trio of top teams, who are all in the running for the constructors title, will be slugging it out this the weekend. Felipe Massa will be hoping that the Suzuka podium was not a one-off. He set the fourth best time of the morning in his Ferrari, ahead of Japaneze GP winner Sebastian Vettel in the Red Bull. Up next were the Mercedes pair of Michael Schumacher and Nico Rosberg, who ended the session sixth and seventh respectively. The ‘first lap nutcase’, Romain Grosjean, was eighth fastest with teammate Kimi Raikkonen 11th best, neither having driven the Yeongam circuit before FP1. Force India continued to show good form with Paul Di Resta ending ninth fastest, ahead of Jenson Button in the Mclaren who rounded out the top ten. Reserve drivers on duty were: Jules Bianchi, in place of Nico Hulkenberg, for Force India; Valterri Bottas in place of Bruno Senna in the Williams and Giedo van der Garde, replacing Vitaly Petrov, in the Caterham - the trio ended 13th, 18th and 22nd respectively. Korea International Circuit is hardly used for racing between the annual grand prix at the venue, thus the circuit was very green and caught out a number of drivers but with no major incident. The track surface is expected to rubber in as the weekend progresses, offering more grip and increasingly faster times. Subbed by AJN. Korean Grand Prix Free Practice 1, Yeongam – Friday, 12 October 2012 Pos No Driver Team Time Gap Laps 1 4 Lewis Hamilton McLaren-Mercedes 1:39.148 23 2 5 Fernando Alonso Ferrari 1:39.450 0.302 21 3 2 Mark Webber Red Bull Racing-Renault 1:39.575 0.427 21 4 6 Felipe Massa Ferrari 1:39.854 0.706 23 5 1 Sebastian Vettel Red Bull Racing-Renault 1:40.088 0.940 21 6 7 Michael Schumacher Mercedes 1:40.221 1.073 21 7 8 Nico Rosberg Mercedes 1:40.396 1.248 24 8 10 Romain Grosjean Lotus-Renault 1:40.422 1.274 22 9 11 Paul di Resta Force India-Mercedes 1:40.440 1.292 19 10 3 Jenson Button McLaren-Mercedes 1:40.480 1.332 21 11 9 Kimi Räikkönen Lotus-Renault 1:40.929 1.781 14 12 18 Pastor Maldonado Williams-Renault 1:41.048 1.900 25 13 12 Jules Bianchi Force India-Mercedes 1:41.140 1.992 21 14 14 Kamui Kobayashi Sauber-Ferrari 1:41.220 2.072 19 15 15 Sergio Perez Sauber-Ferrari 1:41.514 2.366 20 16 16 Daniel Ricciardo STR-Ferrari 1:41.596 2.448 23 17 17 Jean-Eric Vergne STR-Ferrari 1:42.021 2.873 25 18 19 Valtteri Bottas Williams-Renault 1:42.027 2.879 23 19 20 Heikki Kovalainen Caterham-Renault 1:42.104 2.956 24 20 24 Timo Glock Marussia-Cosworth 1:42.175 3.027 13 21 25 Charles Pic Marussia-Cosworth 1:42.706 3.558 22 22 21 Giedo van der Garde Caterham-Renault 1:42.820 3.672 19 23 22 Pedro de la Rosa HRT-Cosworth 1:44.517 5.369 23 24 23 Dani Clos HRT-Cosworth 1:45.735 6.587 22 Related NewsEcclestone confirms Azerbaijan replacing axed Korea in 2015Boullier: I think Grosjean can be even better next yearRed Bull questions tardy response to Webber fireHamilton: Me and Fernando are of a higher calibre, we should be battling at the frontKorean Grand Prix: Untouchable Vettel triumphs – fourth title now a mere formalityHulkenberg: I drove one of the best races in my career so farWhy always Webber? His curse reaches new low in KoreaBoth Caterham and both Marussia drivers reprimandedMcLaren: Sometimes it takes a difficult race to bring out the strengths of our peopleLotus: A fantastic result and it tastes like a race win Johannes Very impressed by the pace of Dutchman Giedo van der Garde. I think he should get a seat for next season. Kontmans I agree, he is one of the greatest talents in recent years!