Red Bull made a stylish bid to write their name at the very front of the Formula One form book by topping the timesheets in the first practice sessions of the European season.
Sebastian Vettel and Mark Webber left rivals trailing in their wake with fastest times of 1:19.965 and 1:20.175 in the faster afternoon session. In third place was Mercedes GP’s Michael Schumacher with the only other sub-1:21 lap.
Ferrari’s local hero Fernando Alonso was fourth while the best performance mustered by McLaren came from Lewis Hamilton in fifth despite a timesheet-topping run in the first session. Jenson Button, previously second behind Hamilton, was this time stranded in ninth behind Felipe Massa.
Renault’s Robert Kubica put in a strong performance to win sixth while Nico Rosberg was seventh, in the unfamiliar position of being behind his team-mate for the second time today.
One driver who had a less than successful session was Williams’ Nico Hulkenberg who crashed his car, leading to the session being briefly red-flagged.
In the first session Hamilton and Button topped the timesheets with the former scoring a fastest lap of 1:21.134, a little over half a second ahead of his team-mate.
Narrowly beaten into third was Schumacher, suddenly looking far more threatening than he has at any point this season, thanks to a modified Mercedes that he hopes will give his flagging comeback a boost.
In fourth and fifth were the Red Bull pairing of Webber and Vettel while in sixth was Schumacher’s team-mate Nico, getting his first taste of the unaccustomed supporting role.
Kubica was sixth and Alonso represented the first of the Ferrari drivers in seventh. Massa was 12th and Force India reserve driver Paul di Resta 13th.
Practice two times
- Sebastian Vettel, Red Bull: 1:19.965
- Mark Webber, Red Bull: 1:20.175
- Michael Schumacher, Mercedes GP: 1:20.757
- Fernando Alonso, Ferrari: 1:20.819
- Lewis Hamilton, McLaren: 1:21.191
- Robert Kubica, Renault: 1:21.202
- Nico Rosberg, Mercedes GP: 1:21.271
- Felipe Massa, Ferrari: 1:21.302
- Jenson Button, McLaren: 1:21.364
- Adrian Sutil, Force India: 1:21.518
- Pedro de la Rosa, BMW Sauber: 1:21.672
- Vitantonio Liuzzi, Force India: 1:21.904
- Kamui Kobayashi, BMW Sauber: 1:21.931
- Sebastien Buemi, Toro Rosso: 1:22.184
- Rubens Barrichello, Williams: 1:22.192
- Vitaly Petrov, Renault: 1:22.435
- Jaime Alguersuari: Toro Rosso: 1:22.449
- Nico Hulkenberg, Williams: 1:23.765
- Jarno Trulli, Lotus: 1:24.209
- Heikki Kovalainen, Lotus: 1:24.894
- Lucas di Grassi, Virgin: 1:25.066
- Karun Chandhok, Hispania: 1:25.972
- Bruno Senna, Hispania: 1:26.152
- Timo Glock, Cosworth: 1:26.596
Practice one times
- Lewis Hamilton, McLaren: 1:21.134
- Jenson Button, McLaren: 1:21.672
- Michael Schumacher, Mercedes GP: 1:21.716
- Mark Webber, Red Bull: 1:22.011
- Sebastian Vettel, Red Bull: 1:22.026
- Nico Rosberg, Mercedes GP: 1:22.070
- Robert Kubica, Renault: 1:22.202
- Fernando Alonso, Ferrari: 1:22.258
- Vitaly Petrov, Renault: 1:22.397
- Kamui Kobayashi, BMW Sauber: 1:22.492
- Sebastien Buemi, Toro Rosso: 1:22.588
- Felipe Massa, Ferrari: 1:22.975
- Paul Di Resta, Force India: 1:23.030
- Jaime Alguersuari, Toro Rosso: 1:23.110
- Vitantonio Liuzzi, Force India: 1:23.284
- Rubens Barrichello, Williams: 1:23.312
- Nico Hulkenberg, Williams: 1:23.471
- Heikki Kovalainen, Lotus: 1:25.329
- Jarno Trulli, Lotus: 1:26.244
- Timo Glock, Virgin: 1:26.340
- Lucas di Grassi, Virgin: 1:26.694
- Christian Klien, Hispania: 1:27.250
- Bruno Senna, Hispania: 1:27.752
- Pedro de la Rosa, BMW Sauber: no time