Practice One - Alonso tops wet Turkish session 06 May 2011
The rain made Friday mornings first practice session in Turkey something of a lottery, and as Fernando Alonso dominated it by 1.4s ahead of the Mercedes duo Nico Rosberg and Michael Schumacher, world champion Sebastian Vettel returned to the pits on foot after heavily shunting his Red Bull on the exit to the infamous Turn Eight.
Opinion was divided whether to run, and risk wearing out a set of wet Pirellis, or to do as few laps as possible. Alonso did 13, for example, Rosberg 14 and Schumacher 18, and McLarens Jenson Button and Lewis Hamilton four and one respectively.
It was Rosberg who got closest to Alonsos 1m 38.670s with 1m 40.072s, but a purple first sector and a green second were negated when the German lost time in the third right at the end. Schumacher had two lurid spins in Turn 11, the second when his MGP W02 swapped ends very quickly, serving to demonstrate just how tricky conditions were in Istanbul Park. The former champion ended up third, with 1m 40.132s.
Behind them, Nick Heidfeld and Vitaly Petrov got Renaults weekend off to a reasonable start, with 1m 40.338s and 1m 40.401 respectively, with Kamui Kobayashi within striking distance for Sauber on 1m 40.421s and Felipe Massa seventh in the second Ferrari on 1m 40.697s.
Daniel Ricciardo continued his smooth progress at Toro Rosso with eighth fastest time of 1m 41.094s, from team mate and early pacesetter Sebastien Buemi who lapped in 1m 41.178s. Then came Nico Hulkenberg in the lead Force India with 1m 41.347s, Mark Webber in the lead Red Bull on 1m 41.564s, and Pastor Maldonado in the lead Williams on 1m 42.597s.
Paul di Resta was 13th in the second Force India with 1m 43.525s, ahead of Rubens Barrichello on 1m 43.913s in the second Williams and Jarno Trulli on 1m 43.986s for Lotus.
Tonio Liuzzi was 16th on 1m 44.787s in the lead HRT, while the unfortunate Vettel was 17th on 1m 44.954s. He put the right rear wheel over the kerb on the exit to Turn Eight, with just under half an hour left to run, and smacked his car hard into the inside wall as it spun back across the road and brought out the red flag while the mess was cleared away.
Virgins Timo Glock was a spinner, together with Vettel, Schumacher, Maldonado, di Resta, HRTs Narain Karthikeyan and Lotus's Karun Chandhok, but finished just ahead of Virgin team mate Jerome DAmbrosio on a day when it was hard to gauge the benefit of his new aero package.
The German lapped in 1m 45.183s to the Belgians 1m 45.237s. Karthikeyan was 20th on 1m 48.461s, Chandhok 21st on 1m 51.676s and Saubers Sergio Perez 22nd on 1m 55.791s.
McLaren never planned to hurt their rubber, so Button set the 23rd-fastest time with a lap of 2m 00.666s, whilst Lewis Hamilton didnt record a time at all.
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