Brazilian Grand Prix: Vettel & Webber dominate first practice
Sebastian Vettel was once again fastest in practice for Red Bull on the first day at Interlagos for the Brazilian Grand Prix as the Austrian team dominated proceedings.
The German was the only man to break the 1:12 barrier to set a time of 1:11.968, just a tenth quicker than team-mate Mark Webber.
Vettel said: “I think it was pretty good today-of course it’s not the most important thing to be at the top of the timing list today, it’s more important tomorrow and Sunday-but it’s a good start.
“The car feels alright, I’m not one hundred percent happy with the balance and think we can improve it, but it’s looking okay.”
McLaren’s Lewis Hamilton had an encouraging day to lap 0.517 seconds slower in the first practice to claim third quickest, but only 0.688 seconds slower in the second practice to take fourth quickest behind championship leader Fernando Alonso, who was two tenths slower than Webber.
Hamilton said: “In terms of pure pace in the dry, the Red Bull looks very quick. But a number of factors will play a part in deciding how things pan out in the next two grands prix-weather, engines, reliability-so it’s all still up for grabs.”
Local hero Felipe Massa finished fifth quickest for Ferrari, ahead of Renault’s Robert Kubica-the last driver to lap in the 1:12.
Kubica said: “Our position looked pretty good in both sessions today but we know from experience that Friday can be misleading, so we need to be cautious.
“The main target overnight will be to improve the balance of the car because it was not ideal today-I was struggling with inconsistency and low grip.”
Jenson Button could only manage seventh quickest for McLaren, 1.2 seconds off the pace, with Sauber’s Nick Heidfeld, and Mercedes duo Nico Rosberg and Michael Schumacher rounding out the top 10.
Schumacher said: “I would have wished and expected for us to be closer to the top teams but unfortunately the gap seems to be a little bigger than at the last races. The track itself has improved a lot since I last raced here and the bumps are not really a problem any more.
“All in all, we have to see what we can improve for qualifying tomorrow and we will have a deep look into our data now.”
Rubens Barrichello was best of the rest for Williams, with Kamui Kobayashi coming through a lively session to take 12th, ahead of Nico HÃƒÂ¼lkenberg. Adrian Sutil, Vitaly Petrov, Vitantonio Liuzzi, and Sebastien Buemi rounded out the all-important top 17.
Jarno Trulli was quickest of the new teams, just four tenths slower than Toro Rosso’s Jaime Alguersuari, as Lotus Racing enjoyed their best Friday practice of the season.
Trulli said: “That was a pretty good day. It’s good to complete so many laps and have no problems at all. When the car feels well balanced, like it did today, you can push around the whole lap and end up where we did, ahead of the other new guys.
“We’ve made a few changes to the setup for this weekend and that’s given me more confidence in the car and I think there’s more to come tomorrow.”
Trulli’s team-mate Heikki Kovalainen completed an excellent day for Lotus to take 20th, ahead of Virgin Racing’s Lucas di Grassi, Hispania Racing Team’s Bruno Senna and Christian Klien, with Timo Glock slowest of all.