• Korean Grand Prix - FP2

Webber sets Friday pace in Korea

ESPNF1 Staff
October 22, 2010

Championship leader Mark Webber set the pace during Friday's practice for the Korean Grand Prix, ahead of title rivals Fernando Alonso and Lewis Hamilton.

The Red Bull driver's best time of 1:37.942 was 0.190 up on Alonso's Ferrari and 0.337 up on Hamilton's McLaren. Defending champion Jenson Button was fifth fastest, while Webber's team-mate Sebastian Vettel was 1.2 seconds off the pace in seventh.

However, track conditions constantly improved throughout the session, making times difficult to read, and traffic in the tight final sector ruined a number of attempts to clock quick times. With another hour's running scheduled ahead of the first session of qualifying on Saturday, even more rubber will be laid on the surface and times should improve again.

But Webber's pace looks genuine and he produced a strong run on hard tyres with laps that were often as quick of his rivals' attempts on softs. Early indications suggest McLaren might not have the advantage it had hoped for in the high-speed first sector - Renault's Robert Kubica was by far the fastest through there - although all the front runners are fairly evenly matched through sectors two and three.

McLaren were delivered another headache when Button's car overheated in the pits and the team had to scramble for fire extinguishers to prevent any serious damage. Button then spent another 20 minutes in the garage, missing out on valuable track time, before rejoining the action and setting a personal best.

Felipe Massa looks set for a more competitive weekend than in recent weeks after setting the sixth fastest time, but also complained that his Ferrari was "undriveable" through sector three on heavy fuel. All the teams had problems with tyre graining on long runs, as the heavier fuel loads put extra strain on the already overworked tyres.

Some drivers were still struggling for grip at the end of the session and plenty skipped corners or made use of the ample run off. Sakon Yamamoto brought the session to a halt midway through when he clobbered the kerb at turn 16 and spun his HRT. The car stalled and race control red flagged the session in order to remove the car from between the concrete walls.The kerb at turn 16 proved problematic for a few drivers, and any accidents there during the race will almost certainly result in a safety car in order to clear the debris.

Tonio Liuzzi also stopped towards the end of the session with a problem on his Force India, but he managed to park the car away from the racing line.