Red Bull start well but qualifying promises a lot
While on paper defending world champion Sebastian Vettel and his Red Bull teammate were almost six-tenths of a second faster than the Ferrari of Fernando Alonso, there was enough to suggest that qualifying on Saturday will be eventful. Vinayak Pande writes.india Updated: Oct 27, 2012 01:58 IST
While on paper defending world champion Sebastian Vettel and his Red Bull teammate were almost six-tenths of a second faster than the Ferrari of Fernando Alonso, there was enough to suggest that qualifying on Saturday will be eventful.
Felipe Massa, Kimi Raikkonen, Bruno Senna and Lewis Hamilton all lost control of their cars at various points of the Buddh International Circuit's most technical section, from turns six to 12.
All the spins occurred while the drivers were on low fuel, trying to find the right set up for the qualifying session. A switch to soft tyres saw the times improve from the opening session and Vettel's lap of 1:26.211 was 1.398 seconds faster than his best time in first practice.
However, Hamilton and Alonso's pace on heavy fuel towards the end of the session suggested that Red Bull might be challenged come race day.
In practice one, Vettel showed why Hamilton feared a Red Bull walkover here by topping the time-sheets with a time of 1:27.619. Three of the top four drivers in the session were also classified in the top four at the first free practice session last year.
Trailing Vettel was McLaren's Jenson Button, Alonso, Hamilton and Red Bull's Mark Webber. The fastest time, however was 0.783 seconds slower than the fastest time in first practice last year as drivers complained of the track being 'green' due to no racing having taken place on it since last year.
New tyre compounds brought by tyre supplier Pirelli mitigated the fact that the circuit was much cleaner than last year. Due to the nature of the new tyre compounds and the low grip of the track, drivers also spent a fair amount of time trying to judge the best spots to use the Drag Reduction System (DRS) for qualifying. The track is expected to get much faster as the weekend wears on.