Vettel tops Friday practice times for Spanish GP

Vettel tops Friday practice times for Spanish GP

While many people earlier this year had feelings that Red Bull could be the team to beat in 2010, Friday practice for the Formula One Spanish Grand Prix at Barcelona was a perfect indication with Sebastian Vettel setting the fastest time of the...

While many people earlier this year had feelings that Red Bull could be the team to beat in 2010, Friday practice for the Formula One Spanish Grand Prix at Barcelona was a perfect indication with Sebastian Vettel setting the fastest time of the day, clocking a 1:19:965 and just edging out teammate Mark Webber by two tenths of a second.

Sebastian Vettel, Red Bull Racing.
Photo by xpb.cc.

"We have a few changes on our car," commented Vettel, "but not as significant as most of the other teams have. There's a little bit everywhere on ours and I think we've proved today that our changes work."

Webber, on the other hand, agreed that the day went well, and also credited the team's success. "The guys in the garage worked flawlessly, the driver did good as well, and it was a good day for us. It was a long night for us and a good day for us. Hopefully, it will be a good day for us tomorrow."

Michael Schumacher, who ran today with many new updates on his Mercedes, finished his best time of the year in third. "Today I felt much more comfortable in the car and feel that it is behaving more consistently. In my view, our upgrade is a step forward but we have to wait and see how big the step is as the other teams have obviously improved as well."

Continuing to work on his new F-duct, Fernando Alonso managed to take the fourth fastest time on his home turf, and for the first time in a while, took a higher position on the grid than the McLaren's of Lewis Hamilton and Jenson Button; the defending world champion finished way down in ninth position.

Nico Hulkenberg had the biggest error of the session, bringing out a red flag when his Williams ran wide across the Astroturf at turn nine, swinging widely and across the track and into the wall. The impact wiped the nose completely off the car, but despite this, the car suffered no serious damage and the Williams will run again in Saturday's practice.

McLaren managed to have a better session in the morning, as Hamilton and Button both finished in a 1-2 position, with Hamilton recording a 1:21:134 as the best time of that session.

"It was quite windy today, so we really struggled a little bit," said Hamilton. "Generally the car does not feel that bad, but we will make a few changes for tomorrow. We will be focusing on the day ahead, and we will see on how competitively we can be."

For the defending world champion Button, he was a little more realistic then his compatriot. "To be honest, we have a little more work to do. I would have liked to get more running, but something hit my bargeboards when I came out of the pits. Their needs to be work done on the tires, perhaps it might be down to set up."

Mercedes GP drivers Schumacher and Nico Rosberg, remained just as consistent in the first session as the seven time world champion took third just four tenths quicker than his teammate, who finished in seventh. A new longer wheelbase and a new radical air box design could have been the key to improving the car for the German drivers.

"Now we have to deeply analyse the data to get a better overview on the actual situation and as usual after the Friday practice sessions, it is difficult to estimate where you actually are in comparison to our competitors. We will only have the real picture after qualifying tomorrow," said Schumacher.

The first session, compared to the second, was much quieter, with only the Sauber car, finally with a new sponsor from American fast food giant Burger King, having a failure. The team encountered a gearbox problem, causing Pedro de la Rosa to only complete three laps. The failure of the car raises questions on reliability, although teammate Kamui Kobayashi finished a respectable tenth.

The weather was cool for both sessions, but a possibility of wet weather later in the race weekend might change many set ups for the teams.

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About this article
Series Formula 1
Drivers Jenson Button , Pedro de la Rosa , Michael Schumacher , Mark Webber , Fernando Alonso , Nico Rosberg , Sebastian Vettel , Kamui Kobayashi , Nico Hulkenberg
Teams Red Bull Racing , Mercedes , Sauber , McLaren , Williams