Formula 1

Webber and Alonso Dodge Showers to Lead Friday Sessions

2 Mins read

Mark Webber and Fernando Alonso were fastest in the first and second practice sessions respectively as the F1 teams dodged showers in the first day's running in Interlagos.

The first session of the day started under overcast skies, but with most teams predicting a period clear of rain the track was a busy place as teams began to work on an initial set-up before the first shower reached the track.

There was the typical news up and down the pitlane as some team's found their baseline set-up better suited than others. Jenson Button complained of a cocktail of poor handling in his Brawn GP, while McLaren were back using the infamous Flo-Vis paint.

However, it wasn't long before the rain started falling and drivers started sliding off the track as they found the grip that had been there a lap earlier was suddenly absent, and returned to the pits. Now the teams, with their relatively small allocation of wet and intermediate tyres, faced the same dilemma as in Japan, whether to run and start eroding that allocation or stay put and wait out the rain.

With that decision every team decided to take cover in their garages, the only 'highlight' of the break being the sight of Mercedes Motorsport boss Norbert Haug sharing a handshake with Felipe Massa while the Brazilian sat on the Ferrari pitwall.

When the weather cleared and the track dried enough for super-soft slick tyres once more drivers reappeared for more action. While the Brawns, Red Bulls (once more using the wider nose section), McLarens (and improbably Kazuki Nakajima on the super-soft tyres) traded top times, it was left to the trio of Adrian Sutil, Romain Grosjean and Sebastien Buemi to provide the off-track action.

Sutil was the first to draw attention to himself, managing to drift his VJM02 elegantly through one of the right-handers on the circuit's infield.

Romain Grosjean went one up by bringing out the red flag with a little under an hour remaining in the session but without damaging his car. He became the latest of many driver through the session to find the area beyond the edge of adhesion at turn 12, and ran into a polystyrene turn marker for turn 13, sending debris across the track.

It was left to Buemi in the closing minutes to have the most destructive accident, when he backed his car into the turn eight tyre wall, severely rearranging his rear suspension . “I came up fast behind Liuzzi, who was going slowly on the racing line and in trying to avoid him,” explained Buemi. “I went over the kerb, lost control and spun.”

Buemi again starred in the afternoon session, though for all the right reasons, as they rookie was fastest of all runners for most of the session, which once more saw rain showers disrupt running.

Despite this rain the session was quieter by way of accidents, with only the normal practice fare of drivers out braking themselves to report, though Heikki Kovalainen did his best to reprise Sutil earlier drifting, though his effort was a poor imitation in truth.

It was Fernando Alonso who eventually denied Buemi and Toro Rosso in the closing laps of the session, ahead of Barrichello and P1 leader Webber. The entire 20 car field was covered by less than a second, with Giancarlo Fisichella, who ended his session in the Ferrari garage after stalling at the end of the pit lane, last and F1 debutant Kamui Kobayashi clocking the 13th best time.

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