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Webber ends day one on top in Japan

Mark Webber posts the fastest time of FP2 and ends day one of the Japanese Grand Prix at the head of the F1 field.
Mark Webber claimed day one honours at the Japanese Grand Prix after pacing the second free practice session and, with it, topping the combined timesheets.

The Red Bull man's 1min 32.493secs carved two full seconds off Jenson Button's FP1 time as the sport's two current leading teams swapped places at the head of the field. Lewis Hamilton, not long for McLaren after the six remaining races, was second fastest in the 90-minute session - which was interrupted by an early red flag - with Sebastian Vettel vaulting up the order after a lowly FP1 showing to claim third spot. Webber's advantage over his rivals, having previously topped the times on two occasions, was a couple of tenths, with Hamilton - running a higher downforce spec than team-mate Button - a further tenth clear of the man who inherited his Singapore Grand Prix victory a couple of weeks ago.

Nico Hulkenberg underlined Sahara Force India's recent form by taking fourth on the timesheets, four-tenths off the pace, but there was less good news from the other side of the garage as team-mate Paul di Resta failed to set an FP2 time after crashing out at Spoon in the first few minutes of the session, The Scot held his hands up to a mistake after putting his right-side wheels off the road, but found a couple of mitigating factors in his error by blaming a slowing Kimi Raikkonen and dirt laid down to fill ruts made by previous races. di Resta, who remains - along with his team-mate - at the centre of rumours concerning the second Ferrari seat - found himself 18th on the combined times, based on his FP1 effort.

Ferrari took fifth overall on the day with Fernando Alonso happier with the grip from his F2012 in the later session and, with Felipe Massa remaining in the top ten throughout the day, the Scuderia will hope to be able to take the fight to McLaren and Red Bull in both qualifying and the race as it attempts to keep Alonso at the top of the points table. Alonso, however, continued to struggle with the life of his tyres, as did the two Red Bulls, and it remains to be seen whether changes can be made without compromising performance.

Romain Grosjean boosted Lotus up the order in the second session, taking sixth spot, but team-mate Raikkonen again ran into day one problems, this time of a KERS nature when he was instructed to vacate his cockpit, and wound up down in 14th position, 1.7secs off the pace after completing just a dozen laps.

Behind Grosjean, FP1 pacesetter Button was seventh despite taking over a second off his previous time, while Bruno Senna showed no ill-effects of again handing his car over to Valtteri Bottas in the first session by taking eighth fastest time. Massa was ninth fastest, one place ahead of former team-mate Michael Schumacher, although the German veteran began the run-in to his second retirement with another off, this time copying di Resta's exit at Spoon, albeit without the need for a repeat of the red flags.

The second Mercedes finished eleventh in the hands of Nico Rosberg, despite the German missing much of the early stages after a fresh engine was installed in his W03 following the oil pressure problem that sidelined him late in FP1. Sauber was next up, this time with Sergio Perez marginally ahead of team-mate Kamui Kobayashi, with Pastor Maldonado completing the top 15 behind Raikkonen and ahead of the two Toro Rossos.

Heikki Kovalainen, like Senna, showed that missing FP1 was not necessarily a hindrance, immediately returning to head the 'division three' teams in 18th overall. The Finn, whose future with Caterham remains the subject of speculation, finished a tenth clear of team-mate Vitaly Petrov, although the Russian was prevented from completing the session when his rear wing detached itself at the end of the main straight, sending the CT01 into the gravel trap, fortunately without serious consequences.

Timo Glock again had the upper hand in terms of the Marussia battle, finishing the day half a second clear of team-mate Charles Pic, while Pedro de la Rosa and Narain Karthikeyan brought up the rear, more than five seconds off the pace being set at the front.

Related Pictures

Click on relevant pic to enlarge
21.09.2012 - Free Practice 1, Paul di Resta (GBR) Sahara Force India F1 Team VJM05
04.10.2012- Vitaly Petrov (RUS) Caterham F1 Team CT01
22.09.2012 - Free practice 3, Michael Schumacher (GER) Mercedes AMG F1 W03
07.09.2012- Free Practice 1, Nico Hulkenberg (GER) Sahara Force India F1 Team VJM05
08.09.2012- Free Practice 3, Lewis Hamilton (GBR) McLaren Mercedes MP4-27
07.09.2012- Free Practice 1, Mark Webber (AUS) Red Bull Racing RB8
28.07.2017 - Free Practice 2, Max Verstappen (NED) Red Bull Racing RB13
28.07.2017 - Free Practice 2, Marcus Ericsson (SUE) Sauber C36 and Fernando Alonso (ESP) McLaren MCL32
28.07.2017 - Free Practice 2, Sebastian Vettel (GER) Scuderia Ferrari SF70H
28.07.2017 - Free Practice 2, Kimi Raikkonen (FIN) Scuderia Ferrari SF70H
28.07.2017 - Free Practice 2, Nico Hulkenberg (GER) Renault Sport F1 Team RS17
28.07.2017 - Free Practice 2, Atmosphere
28.07.2017 - Free Practice 2, Fernando Alonso (ESP) McLaren MCL32
28.07.2017 - Free Practice 2, Stoffel Vandoorne (BEL) McLaren MCL32
28.07.2017 - Free Practice 2, Sergio Perez (MEX) Sahara Force India F1 VJM010
28.07.2017 - Free Practice 2, Max Verstappen (NED) Red Bull Racing RB13
28.07.2017 - Free Practice 2, McLaren MCL32, detail
28.07.2017 - Free Practice 2, Carlos Sainz Jr (ESP) Scuderia Toro Rosso STR12

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Dylan - Unregistered

October 05, 2012 8:56 AM

Just thinking here maybe Bruno Senna should leave Williams and join Sauber remember he has the same sponsor as Perez has at Sauber. I feel Williams gave him half a change and still Mr. Toto has tried to screw him many times on live TV and in the team so maybe Senna should let Toto have his leap frogging boy Bottas have the seat for next year and take his sponsors with him to Sauber. Williams is not the team it used to be now the Toto is in charge his wife is test driver and he wants desperately to have his boy Bottas who hasn't even competed against the best in GP2 seating in the Williams F1 car. Sauber has a future and if Mr. Sauber gives Bruno a full F1 change it would be great!

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