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Motorsport | Formula 1

Lewis Hamilton © Gallo Images

Hamilton fastest in India



Lewis Hamilton (McLaren-Mercedes) dominated the first practice session at the brand new Buddh circuit in Delhi on Friday morning.

It was a case of all drivers being on an equal footing as Formula One went to the Buddh International Circuit in Delhi for the inaugural Indian Grand Prix, and Hamilton stamped his authority on the track and the other drivers, going half a second faster than Red Bull's Sebastian Vettel.

The challenging track, designed by Hermann Tilke as usual, was cloaked in heavy smog as drivers ventured out on the dusty surface for Friday's first free practice session.

Jaime Alguersuari (Toro Rosso-Ferrari) was an early pace setter with a time of 1'31.299 as most drivers ran nothing more than an installation lap or two in the early part of the session, but with 50 minutes remaining, there were a dozen cars on the track.

Adrian Sutil (Force India-Mercedes) ran wide between Turns 5 and 6 but without damage.

Sebastian Vettel (Red Bull-Renault) did exactly the same thing and took an agricultural excursion across the outfield. He had to return to the pits with clumps of grass in the car's splitter.

Michael Schumacher (Mercedes) got a tow from team mate Nico Rosberg down Buddh's long straight to set a new fastest lap of 1'29.353.

Felipe Massa (Ferrari) was the next to get caught out at Turn 5, hurting what had been looking like being a fast lap.

Fernando Alonso lost drive in his Ferrari and coasted to a stop. He parked the car and started walking back to the pits, losing valuable time learning the track.

Vettel set a new fastest time of 1'27.416 followed by team mate Mark Webber who was just 0.012 sec slower.

Lewis Hamilton (McLaren-Mercedes) was third, just a tenth of a second  off Vettel's time.

Times continued to drop as the track rubbered in and drivers got to find the best lines through the corners.

Alguersuari smacked into the barriers after losing the back end at the exit of Turn 9, breaking the left rear suspension and giving his mechanics a lot of work to do.

Four minutes from the end of the session, Pastor Maldonado slowed on the straight with a lot of banging and crashing coming from the rear of his Williams-Cosworth. He came to a stop at the side of the track with smoke pouring from the car and marshals promptly attacked it with a fire extinguisher.

Lewis Hamilton put in a late charge in the last minute of the session to set the fastest time - 1'26.836 - more than half a second ahead of 2011 world champion Sebastian Vettel.

2011 Indian F1 Grand Prix
Friday First Free Practice Times
Pos Driver Nat Team Time
1 Lewis Hamilton GBR McLaren 1'26.836
2 Sebastian Vettel GER Red Bull +0.580
3 Mark Webber AUS Red Bull +0.592
4 Jenson Button GBR McLaren +1.558
5 Michael Schumacher GER Mercedes +1.695
6 Nico Rosberg GER Mercedes +1.706
7 Felipe Massa BRA Ferrari +1.808
8 Adrian Sutil GER Force India +1.869
9 Sébastien Buemi SUI Toro Rosso +2.383
10 Kamui Kobayashi JAP Sauber +2.519
11 Paul di Resta GBR Force India +2.854
12 Vitaly Petrov RUS Renault +2.869
13 Bruno Senna BRA Renault +2.963
14 Sergio Perez MEX Sauber +3.296
15 Rubens Barrichello BRA Williams +3.531
16 Jaime Alguersuari ESP Toro Rosso +3.730
17 Pastor Maldonado VEN Williams +3.833
18 Jarno Trulli ITA Lotus +3.982
19 Karun Chandhok IND Lotus +5.651
20 Timo Glock GER Virgin +5.935
21 Daniel Ricciardo AUS Hispania +7.092
22 Narain Karthikeyan IND Hispania +7.277
23 Jerome d'Ambrosio BEL Virgin +8.960
24 Fernando Alonso ESP Ferrari +9.063

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