Ferrari press release
Last year's Korean Grand Prix was one of the wettest weekends of the year and this year's visit to the Yeongam circuit, outside the port of Mokpo has started off under the same water sign. The morning session was pretty much a wash-out with only 17 of the 24 drivers actually setting a lap time.
The Ferrari drivers contented themselves with some "in and out" laps and practice starts, feeling that there was little to learn from just lapping on a track with a lot of standing water. The fact the weather forecast is for predominantly dry weather for the remaining two days of the sixteenth round of the World Championship supports the rationale of not taking unnecessary risks.
Conditions improved considerably for the second ninety minutes of track time, as can be seen that, while Michael Schumacher set a fastest lap in the morning in his Mercedes in 2.02.784, in the afternoon, Lewis Hamilton was quickest for McLaren in 1.50.932. Fernando Alonso took his 150º Italia to fourth place on the time sheet, completing 25 laps, while team-mate Felipe Massa did one lap less on his way to seventh fastest.
Some teams tried running slicks, but the clear lesson from today is that the track takes a long time to dry and intermediates were the best choice for much of the session. Jenson Button was second for McLaren ahead of third placed Sebastian Vettel in the Red Bull, while in between Fernando and Felipe came Mark Webber, fifth in the other Red Bull and Jaime Alguersuari sixth for Toro Rosso.
It's difficult to do any effective testing in these changeable conditions, in some ways worse than consistent rain, but nevertheless, the team evaluated different configurations of a new front wing on the Spaniard's car. The conditions highlighted the 150º Italia's reluctance to bring tyres up to operating temperature on cool days, so this is yet another reason to hope for dry weather for tomorrow's final hour of free practice. After that comes qualifying to decide the starting positions for what will be Felipe's one hundred and fiftieth Formula 1 race, his first having been the 2002 Australian Grand Prix.