Melbourne Practice 1: Vettel sets early pace as Ferrari duo lead the chase 15 March, 2013 Sebastian Vettel fastest at the end of FP1 in Melbourne Reigning world champion Sebastian Vettel set the early pace during the first official session of the 2013 Formula 1 world championship season, as he topped the timing screens at the end of first free practice of the Australian Grand Prix weekend, at Albert Park in Melbourne. The German confirmed the worst kept secret – that the RB9 is a handy piece of kit – as he powered around the temporary street circuit in a time of 1:27.211. Showing impressive pace early on were both Ferrari drivers with Felipe Massa ending the 90 minutes session second quickest but only 0.078 off the top time, with Fernando Alonso third quickest albeit 0.336 down on Vettel’s best. Felipe Massa was second fastest in FP1 Fourth quickest was Lewis Hamilton in his first ever FP1 session with Mercedes, ahead of local hero Mark Webber in the Red Bull who was fifth fastest. Kimi Raikkonen was sixth on the timing screens, in the Lotus E21, when the chequered flag dropped. Nico Rosberg was seventh in the other Mercedes, ahead of Adrian Sutil who was making his comeback with Force India after a year on the sidelines. Rewind to same time, same place last year and McLaren‘s Jenson Button topped FP1 in Melbourne. This time around the 2009 world champion was ninth on the timing sheets, 1.229 seconds down on pacet. The team’s Mexican new boy Sergio Perez was 11th. Lewis Hamilton made his debut for Mercedes in Melbourne Romain Grosjean rounded out the top ten in the Lotus. Valtteri Bottas was fastest of the five rookies, as he probably will be all season long as the Williams is vastly superior to the Marussia and Caterham where the other rookies are toiling away four to five seconds off the pace. At the backend of proceedings Jules Bianchi impressed by ending his first ever FP1 session one second faster than teammate Max Chilton. Reflecting on the session it is quite clear that the Red Bull has good pace, but at the same time Ferrari, Mercedes and Lotus appear very close, but McLaren could well be in trouble as was suspected after testing in Spain – but it is still early days and qualifying on Saturday will provide the true pecking order… at least for now. Free Practice 1 Results, Melbourne – Friday, 15 March 2013 Pos No Driver Team Time Gap Laps 1 1 Sebastian Vettel Red Bull Racing-Renault 1:27.211 16 2 4 Felipe Massa Ferrari 1:27.289 0.078 17 3 3 Fernando Alonso Ferrari 1:27.547 0.336 16 4 10 Lewis Hamilton Mercedes 1:27.552 0.341 18 5 2 Mark Webber Red Bull Racing-Renault 1:27.668 0.457 18 6 7 Kimi Räikkönen Lotus-Renault 1:27.877 0.666 17 7 9 Nico Rosberg Mercedes 1:28.013 0.802 17 8 15 Adrian Sutil Force India-Mercedes 1:28.426 1.215 19 9 5 Jenson Button McLaren-Mercedes 1:28.440 1.229 19 10 8 Romain Grosjean Lotus-Renault 1:28.520 1.309 15 11 6 Sergio Perez McLaren-Mercedes 1:28.597 1.386 19 12 11 Nico Hulkenberg Sauber-Ferrari 1:28.786 1.575 19 13 14 Paul di Resta Force India-Mercedes 1:28.910 1.699 18 14 16 Pastor Maldonado Williams-Renault 1:29.443 2.232 20 15 17 Valtteri Bottas Williams-Renault 1:29.928 2.717 19 16 12 Esteban Gutierrez Sauber-Ferrari 1:30.203 2.992 17 17 18 Jean-Eric Vergne STR-Ferrari 1:30.729 3.518 17 18 19 Daniel Ricciardo STR-Ferrari 1:30.969 3.758 19 19 22 Jules Bianchi Marussia-Cosworth 1:31.263 4.052 24 20 23 Max Chilton Marussia-Cosworth 1:32.176 4.965 23 21 20 Charles Pic Caterham-Renault 1:32.274 5.063 21 22 21 Giedo van der Garde Caterham-Renault 1:32.388 5.177 18 Related NewsMelbourne secures Australian Grand Prix until 2020Decision on Red Bull Melbourne disqualification appeal on TuesdayRed Bull appeal of Melbourne disqualification is first test of F1′s new eraRed Bull deny dropping Ricciardo disqualification appealHamilton admits he did not want to stop in MelbourneRed Bull appeal to be heard in Paris on 14 AprilRed Bull disqualification appeal may take several weeksAustralian GP chairman Ron Walker steps downRed Bull file papers to appeal Ricciardo disqualificationBriatore: Now we have drivers forced to behave on the track like accountants Mark Go Champ!!!! Patagrande Yes GO CHIMP!!!! Mark someone below is pissed LOL tifosi go ferrari.. ! stenu Yay for Bianchi! Only three tenths off the slower STR. Looking good for Marussia.