F1 Korea FP1 Results & Full Report: Hamilton Quickest with Kubica Close Behind at Yeongam

What Happens When It’s a Dusty, Messy, Track

10:45pm EST — Despite spending most of the session in the garage matching the rear of his car to his teammate’s, Lewis Hamilton (1:40.887) was fastest in the first session at the Yeongam circuit for the 2010 Korean Grand Prix.  He led Robert Kubica, who was just eight thousandths off Hamilton’s time, Sebastian Vettel, and Jenson Button as the fastest five in the Friday practice session.  The track was extraordinarily slippery, with drivers kicking up dirt as they were on and off the track.  Mark Webber was seventh fastest with the slowest title contender Fernando Alonso fifteenth.

Practice got underway at a sunny and dusty Yeongam, with construction still underway on some aspects of the circuit, though not the track itself.  The Lotus of Heikki Kovalainen led a slew of cars onto the track, when everyone needing as much time as possible at the brand-new circuit, most of them going quite slowly, even for installation laps.  Alguersuari complained early on about the very slippery and dirty track, as was expected from a not yet broken in circuit.  Jermoe D’Ambrosio was again in for Lucas di Grassi at Virgin Racing.  Alguersuari was the first to post a time of 2:20.611, though he soon bettered it to 2:16.178 about seven minutes into the session.  By fifteen minutes in, there were quite a few drivers out of their cars waiting on the others to rubber in the track.  There was quite a lot of sliding around going on, as all the drivers were out in ones and twos and regularly correcting as they slid about.  Massa was on track to set a first fast time (seven seconds faster than Alguersuari through the first sector), though he aborted the lap before crossing the line and did not set a time.

Yamamoto, however, was seven seconds faster than Alguersuari in the first sector, gained another two enths int eh second, and ended his first timed lap (the second overall of the session, nearly twenty-five minutes in) with a 2:05.315, through he slid partially off once and completely through the dirt at Turn 11.  He bettered his time to a 2:01.026 as more drivers entered the track.  He was soon eclipsed by Schumacher in the Mercedes, 1:53.458.  Buemi was next on top with 1:52.318 as a total of six cars were on the circuit.   The two drivers had a bit of a duel, with Schumacher going faster at 1:50.140, and Buemi bettering his time but not position.  One third of the way through the session and Webber (1:49.308 on his first timed lap) led Schumacher, Buemi, Yamamoto, and Alguersuari as the only drivers to set times.

Traffic began collecting as more drivers began running, and running more laps even as they slid off and onto the track, though the dirt.  Five minutes later, Kobayashi had slotted into fourth fastest with Trullli running sixth fastest.  Webber’s time dropped again as the track became slightly less dusty, to a 1:45.723.  Barrichello was fifth fastest on his first timed lap, six seconds off Webber’s pace.  Buemi poosted a time faster than that of Schumacher, moving up to second fastest while Kobayashi went third fastest.  Massa, meanwhile, was off and on the track multiple times during his lap.  By the halfway point of the session, those who had set times were Webber (1:44.837), Hulkenberg, Schumacher, Kobayashi, Buemi, Barrichello, Massa, Sutil, Kovalainen, Liuzzi, Trulli, Yamamoto, Senna, and Alguersuari, who was still listed with his very early time.  Hamilton, Button, Alonso, and Vettel had all been out (as many as seven laps in Hamilton’s case), but had not yet set a time.

Hulkenberg soon took the fastest honors from Webber, by three tenths, as Barrichello also showed some pace from the Williams, having moved up to third fastest.  Kobayashi had quite the moment through the dirt on the pit lane entrance as he returned to the garage.  Less than forty minutes to go in the session and Alonso was out on his first timed lap, going tenth fastest with a 1:47.542.  Vettel was thirteenth fastest with his first timed lap.  His next lap was fifth fastest. Button was tenth fastest with his first lap, as Alonso had moved up to sixth, despite his own off-track excursion.  Vettel was fastest with a 1:44.404.  Petrov was quick, moving up to fourth fastest while Button was putting in a scorcher of a first sector, only to have Vettel better his own time and stay fastest while the Briton slotted into second fastest.

When only one third of the first practice session remained, Vettel was fastest (1:43.599), leading Button, Hulkenberg, Petrov, Webber, Heidfeld, Schumacher, Barrichello, Alonso, and Sutil as the top ten.  Hamilton was the only driver to have not yet set a time.  Immediately thereafter, Button was fastest by five tenths despite being very close to the wall, and Heidfeld was third fastest.  The first driver out of the session was Bruno Senna, with left-rear damage from a suspected suspension failure on his HRT with about twenty-five minutes left.  With twenty minutes left, Button led Vettel, Hulkenberg, Heidfeld, and Rosberg as the top five with Hamilton still not having set a time and his  mechanics congregated around the rear of his McLaren in the garage, changing it to match Button’s.

Five minutes later and Hulkenberg (1:42.678) was fastest, leading Button, Barrichello, Kobayashi, and Vettel as the top five.  Webber was twelfth fastest, Massa thireenth, and Alonso fifteenth as Barrichello bested Button’s time.  Mercedes drivers Schumacher and Rosberg were pushing, pushing, pushing, kicking up some dirt, and went fourth and fifth fastest, respectively, as the time began running out.  Roseberg’s effort soon paid off as he went fastest of all with a lap time of 1:42.532.  Ten minutes left had Roseberg, Hulkenberg, Barrichello, Vettel, and Button as the fastest five.  Button was on his way to post an overall fastest time, until he caught traffic and ended up third fastest.  Hamilton was nineteenth fastest with his first set time and just seven minutes to go in the session.  He moved up to sixteenth on his next lap.  He was second fastest on his next time, just barely beat out by a lap time from his teammate, with two tenths separating them.  Kubica also set a very fast lap to be second fastest, just four tenths off of Button’s time of 1:41.940, with just three minutes left.  Hamilton responded with the fastest lap of all, over a second faster than Button.  In the final seconds, Kubica put his nose in as well, going just eight thousandths slower than Hamilton.

Final Times from FP1:

Driver Time Gap Laps
1. Lewis Hamilton 1:40.887 15
2. Robert Kubica 1:40.968 +.081 18
3. Nico Rosberg 1:41.152 +.265 21
4. Sebastian Vettel 1:41.371 +.484 18
5. Jenson Button 1:41.940 +1.053 16
6. Michael Schumacher 1:42.022 +1.135 25
7. Mark Webber 1:42.202 +1.315 23
8. Nick Heidfeld 1:42.293 +1.406 18
9. Nico Hulkenberg 1:42.678 +1.791 21
10. Rubens Barrichello 1:42.883 +1.996 23
11. Vitaly Petrov 1:42.896 +2.009 22
12. Felipe Massa 1:43.054 +2.167 25
13. Kamui Kobayashi 1:43.309 +2.422 20
14. Adrian Sutil 1:43.602 +2.715 18
15. Fernando Alonso 1:43.928 +3.041 21
16. Sebastien Buemi 1:43.940 +3.053 23
17. Tonio Liuzzi 1:44.887 +4.000 21
18. Jaime Alguersuari 1:45.141 +4.254 26
19. Timo Glock 1:45.588 +4.701 20
20. Jerome D’Mabrosio 1:46.613 +5.726 17
21. Heikki Kovalainen 1:47.115 +6.228 22
22. Sakon Yamamoto 1:50.347 +9.460 29
23. Bruno Senna 1:50.821 +9.934 15
24. Jarno Trulli 1:51.701 +10.814 11

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