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Practice One - Hamilton leads shortened first session 23 Sep 2011

Lewis Hamilton (GBR) McLaren as the team announce a partnership with UK sports and drink manufacturer Lucozade.
Formula One World Championship, Rd 14, Singapore Grand Prix, Preparations, Marina Bay Street Circuit, Singapore, Thursday, 22 September 2011 Finally we get the green light for a shortened one-hour long Practice One Rosberg's front wing scrapes the ground as he bounces over the kerbs Kovalainen's session is over after his brakes catch fire in spectacular fashion

McLaren’s Lewis Hamilton and Red Bull’s Sebastian Vettel battled for fastest time as Friday’s first Singapore practice session was held in the gathering dusk of the Marina Bay circuit.

The reigning world champion had set the pace for much of the session as McLaren kept Hamilton in the pits, but the Englishman ended up 0.406s faster after lapping in 1m 48.599s to the German’s 1m 49.005s.

Behind them there were greater gaps than usual between contenders. Mark Webber was third for Red Bull on 1m 50.066s, ahead of Ferrari’s Fernando Alonso on 1m 50.596s and McLaren’s Jenson Button on 1m 50.952s which he did early in the session. Then came Felipe Massa on 1m 52.043s for Ferrari, followed by Force India’s Adrian Sutil on 1m 52.251s, Mercedes’ Michael Schumacher on 1m 52.416s, Force India’s Paul di Resta on 1m 52.435s, Mercedes’ Nico Rosberg on 1m 52.815s, and Williams’ Rubens Barrichello in 1m 52.991s.

Jaime Alguersuari led the next group after posting 1m 53.050s in his Toro Rosso, chased by Pastor Maldonado’s Williams on 1m 53.399s, Sergio Perez and Kamui Kobayashi in their Saubers on 1m 53.703s and 1m 53.749s, Renault’s Bruno Senna on 1m 53.765s, and Toro Rosso’s Sebastien Buemi on 1m 53.785s.

There was another gap to Renault’s Vitaly Petrov on 1m 54.736s, with Jarno Trulli for company on 1m 54.821s, then another gap to Heikki Kovalainen’s sister Lotus on 1m 56.198s, and Jerome d’Ambrosio was Virgin’s faster runner on 1m 57.798s to Timo Glock’s 1m 58.792s.

The HRTs ended up 23rd and 24th with Daniel Ricciardo on 1m 59.169s on his first visit to the track and Narain Karthikeyan returning briefly to post 1m 59.214s. The cars bore messages to the late Christian Bakkerud, the Danish GP2 and F3 driver who died of brain injuries recently following a car accident in the UK.

There was a 30-minute delay before the session could begin after the Porsche Carrera Cup practice had dislodged the new temporary kerbs in some corners. In the end those on the exit to Turns Three and 14 were removed, and drivers were allowed to run across the solid white lines.

There were a few other incidents; Glock went off on his out lap, and later featured as he cut across Webber and took off the Red Bull’s right-front endplate. Soon after that Kovalainen brought out the red flags when he stopped his Lotus at Turn 18 with the front brakes afire. At least this time he didn’t have to extinguish the fire himself as marshals leapt to his aid.

Ten minutes from the end the red flag came out again after Massa had run wide, gone over a kerb before the resultant wobble sent him down an escape road, and inadvertently dislodged another kerbing bolt which stood proud, just waiting to catch somebody’s tyre.

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