Practice One - Vettel pips Massa in maiden Valencia session 22 Aug 2008
Toro Rossos Sebastian Vettel and Ferraris Felipe Massa enlivened the final moments of the first practice session round Valencias new urban circuit this morning, as they swapped fastest time.
The track was dusty and slippery to begin with, but despite predictions there were few significant incidents as everybody set about confirming their pre-race simulations. Clearly, some were on different strategies to others as unfamiliar faces appeared in unfamiliar places.
Sebastien Bourdais set the pace initially for Toro Rosso, followed by Vettel, Ferraris Kimi Raikkonen, Toyotas Timo Glock, McLarens Heikki Kovalainen and Lewis Hamilton, BMW Saubers Robert Kubica and Massa.
In the end it came down to Vettel versus Massa. The German lapped his STR3 in 1m 40.813s before Massa replied with 1m 40.654s. But right at the end Vettel got the verdict by a similar margin with 1m 40.496s.
Hamilton ended the session third on 1m 40.822s, having spun in Turn 12. Bourdais jumped up to fourth with 1m 41.099s, and was followed by Kovalainen (1m 41.163s), Kubica (1m 41.281s), Raikkonen (1m 41.317s), Williams Kazuki Nakajima (1m 41.329s), Renaults Fernando Alonso (1m 41.385s), Williams Nico Rosberg (1m 41.706s), Hondas Rubens Barrichello (1m 41.830s), Toyotas Jarno Trulli (1m 41.930s) and Force Indias Adrian Sutil (1m 41.951s). The Force Indias, incidentally, were running their seamless-shift transmissions again and will keep them for qualifying and the race.
Glock ended up 14th on 1m 42.036s after focusing on race set-up work, then came Renaults Nelson Piquet (1m 42.107s), BMW Saubers Nick Heidfeld (1m 42.453s), Hondas Jenson Button (1m 42.460s), Force Indias Giancarlo Fisichella (1m 43.075s), and, right at the back, the two Red Bulls. David Coulthard lapped his in 1m 43.312s before stopping in Turn 14 at the end, and Mark Webber took his round in 1m 43.524s.
Shortly after the end of the session drivers and Formula One personnel observed a minute's silence to remember those who died in this week's Madrid plane crash in Spain.