Vitaly Petrov has started his race weekend in fine style by claiming the top spot in this morning's chilly free practice session at the Nurburgring by four tenths from Nico Hulkenberg and Roldan Rodriguez. The Russian's best lap of 1.38:752 was...
Vitaly Petrov has started his race weekend in fine style by claiming the top spot in this morning's chilly free practice session at the Nurburgring by four tenths from Nico Hulkenberg and Roldan Rodriguez.
The Russian's best lap of 1.38:752 was more than two seconds faster than Timo Glock's 2007 pole time despite the substantially lower temperatures, albeit that this year's tyres are softer than the medium compounds used during our last visit to the German circuit.
Luca Filippi was the fastest man on track during the opening laps of the session, but the Russian was not to be denied: on the ten minute mark he found the pace that was not to be bettered, with Rodriguez and then Hulkenberg setting their best times shortly thereafter as Andreas Zuber spun to a halt across the pitlane entrance, delaying his rivals' return to the pits for one more lap while the marshals moved the stricken vehicle.
Petrov stayed out longer than anyone else, maintaining his pace as he went, but the field were unable to make best use of their second set of tyres after Nelson Panciatici spun to a halt at turn 4, prompting a long yellow flag period, while any hopes of a last lap improvement were dashed by a heavy impact with the barriers by Luiz Razia as the clock ran out.
Nevertheless the times were very close in the top ten, with Romain Grosjean, Pastor Maldonado, Lucas di Grassi, Luca Filippi and Alvaro Parente slotting in just behind the top three drivers. With conditions likely to remain constant for this afternoon's qualifying session, the fans will be hoping for the action to be red hot to counter the cold temperatures.