• Indian Grand Prix - FP1

Vettel tops opening session in India

ESPN Staff
October 26, 2012
Sebastian Vettel leads Fernando Alonso by six points going in to this weekend's race © Getty Images

Sebastian Vettel set the quickest time of the opening practice session for the Indian Grand Prix.

Fresh from three race victories in a row, Vettel was 0.3s clear of Jenson Button during a morning session that was difficult for the drivers struggling with low grip on the circuit. While Red Bull's pace looked impressive, both Fernando Alonso and Lewis Hamilton got within 0.5s of Vettel's best and were themselves separated by just 0.002s.

Mark Webber was fifth quickest on a 1:28.175 having topped the times for much of the session but struggled to improve late on, and he in turn was 0.3s clear of Nico Rosberg. Felipe Massa, Michael Schumacher, Daniel Ricciardo and Kimi Raikkonen completed the top ten.

However, track conditions dictated lap times as the cars cleared a racing line in the dust, meaning most drivers set their best time on 20-lap old tyres. Therefore, the second session will give a better indication of where the drivers stack up when they head out on the soft compound tyres.

Valtteri Bottas impressed once again as he was 0.4s quicker than team-mate Pastor Maldonado, albeit two seconds off the pace in 11th, while Giedo van der Garde was just 0.2s slower than Vitaly Petrov at Caterham.

Esteban Gutierrez was keen to impress during his first Friday appearance for Sauber having replaced the unwell Sergio Perez, enjoying the most productive session as he completed 29 laps. His best time of 1:31.212 was 1.4s slower than team-mate Kamui Kobayashi, but a few off-track excursions at turns six and seven proved he was pushing hard. Perez is expected to return to the car for FP2.

A number of drivers also ran wide as they struggled with a lack of grip on the hard tyres, with very little running having taken place on the circuit so far this weekend.