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Hamilton fastest in FP1 at Indian GP

Lewis Hamilton produces late flying lap to claim P1 in first-ever F1 session at Buddh International Circuit.
Lewis Hamilton pipped Sebastian Vettel to the honour of being fastest in the first ever F1 practice session on Indian soil, with a late flying lap knocking the world champion out of P1 as the chequered flag waved.

Although the Briton was later summoned to see the stewards for apparently ignoring yellow flags flying over Pastor Maldonado's stranded Williams, his lap of 1min 26.836secs set the early benchmark for performances on a very dusty Buddh International Circuit, beating Vettel's previous best by more than half a second as McLaren and Red Bull vied for supremacy in the 90-minute session.

Neither team was too interested in setting the pace early on, allowing the lesser lights to clean the spectacular new circuit, and it fell to local favourites Force India and Karun Chandhok to christen the dusty tarmac. Although Vijay Mallya's cars were the first out of the pit-lane, Chandhok ensured that Lotus would be credited with the first flying lap of the facility, and was quickly joined at the top of the timesheets by fellow countryman Narain Karthikeyan as the Indian contingent did their best to engender support. The only worrying moment came as a stray dog found its way onto the track, forcing a red flag with just five minutes on the clock.

The big guns appeared just over a third of the way into the session, with Jaime Alguersuari's fastest time only standing until Jenson Button - the first of the six expected frontrunners to go for a serious lap - toppled the Toro Rosso driver from his perch. Thereafter, the Briton, McLaren team-mate Hamilton and Red Bull duo Vettel and Mark Webber swapped P1 between themselves, with the German looking set to take top spot until Hamilton dug deep on his last lap.

The Briton's effort proved to be 0.580secs faster than everyone else, with Vettel and Webber - split by just 0.012secs - ending the morning a full second ahead of Button, with McLaren duo Michael Schumacher - who also took a turn in P1 - and Nico Rosberg close behind the Briton. Felipe Massa upheld Ferrari honour in seventh, despite the team opting to change his nose towards the end, after double world champion Fernando Alonso ground to a halt on the inside of turn ten. The Spaniard had completed just four flying laps to that point, and will have some serious catching up to do in the afternoon session with the likes of Hamilton, Vettel and Button racking up 23 or 23 tours, and Webber completing 27.

Adrian Sutil ensured that India had a representative in the top ten, ending the session ahead of Sebastien Buemi and Kamui Kobayashi, with Paul di Resta, Vitaly Petrov and Bruno Senna proving evenly matched just behind them. Alguersuari wound up 16th after crashing late on, while Maldonado was just one place further back after losing his Cosworth engine in spectacular fashion during the closing stages. The chicane at turn five proved especially tricky in the conditions, with several drivers taking to the grass infield, including Vettel, Massa, Sutil and Sergio Perez, although none terminally.

Chandhok, for the record, ended the session in 19th spot, one behind Team Lotus team-mate Jarno Trulli - replete with Marco Simoncelli replica helmet in recognition of the late MotoGP star - and ahead of the Virgin and HRT runners.

Related Pictures

Click on relevant pic to enlarge
26.08.2011- Friday Practice 1, Karun Chandhok (IND), Team Lotus, TL11
14.10.2011- Friday Practice 1, Pastor Maldonado (VEN), Williams FW33
24.09.2011- Saturday Practice, Jaime Alguersuari (SPA), Scuderia Toro Rosso, STR6
15.10.2011- Qualifying, Adrian Sutil (GER), Force India F1 Team, VJM04
15.10.2011- Qualifying, Fernando Alonso (ESP), Scuderia Ferrari, F-150 Italia
16.10.2011- Race, Mark Webber (AUS), Red Bull Racing, RB7
09.10.2011- Race, Lewis Hamilton (GBR), McLaren  Mercedes, MP4-26 leads Felipe Massa (BRA), Scuderia Ferrari, F-150 Italia
25.06.2017 - Race, Sebastian Vettel (GER) Scuderia Ferrari SF70H and Lewis Hamilton (GBR) Mercedes AMG F1 W08
25.06.2017 - Race, Sebastian Vettel (GER) Scuderia Ferrari SF70H and Lewis Hamilton (GBR) Mercedes AMG F1 W08
25.06.2017 - Race, The race stopped, Fernando Alonso (ESP) McLaren MCL32 and the Safety car
25.06.2017 - Race, Lewis Hamilton (GBR) Mercedes AMG F1 W08
25.06.2017 - Race, The Safety car and Lewis Hamilton (GBR) Mercedes AMG F1 W08
25.06.2017 - Race, Carlos Sainz Jr (ESP) Scuderia Toro Rosso STR12 and Fernando Alonso (ESP) McLaren MCL32
25.06.2017 - Race, Esteban Ocon (FRA) Sahara Force India F1 VJM10 and Felipe Massa (BRA) Williams FW40
25.06.2017 - Race, Sergio Perez (MEX) Sahara Force India F1 VJM010 and Sebastian Vettel (GER) Scuderia Ferrari SF70H
25.06.2017 - Race, Lewis Hamilton (GBR) Mercedes AMG F1 W08 and the Safety car
25.06.2017 - Race, Fernando Alonso (ESP) McLaren MCL32 and Marcus Ericsson (SUE) Sauber C36
25.06.2017 - Race, Fernando Alonso (ESP) McLaren MCL32 and 3rd place Lance Stroll (CDN) Williams FW40

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October 28, 2011 9:00 AM

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