European Grand Prix 2010: Friday Practice Reports

Rosberg fastest in morning session, but Alonso powers ahead in P2.

Friday marked the start of the European Grand Prix weekend, as drivers completed the opening two practice sessions around the Valencia street circuit.

A number of questions were raised in the run up to the ninth round of the 2010 world championship, with McLaren and Red Bull locked in their battle at the front and Fernando Alonso looking to reignite his title push on home soil.

With a large amount of teams introducing new devices ahead of this race, the opening two practice sessions would offer a glimmer to the running order for the weekend ahead.

Practice 1:

Nico Rosberg fully utilised Mercedes’s F-duct system to top the opening session for the 2010 European Grand Prix, as McLaren’s Lewis Hamilton and Jenson Button made a strong start to their weekend.

With a quarter of an hour remaining in Spain, the German driver was asked to complete two successive laps – the first without using the aerodynamic device and the second with the system at its optimum.

As a result, the time differential between Rosberg’s two laps demonstrated the impact of the f-duct system on the current specification of Formula One car, with his second effort topping the times.

Lewis Hamilton, who had been fastest for a large part of the session, was second – 0.164 seconds down on Rosberg’s Mercedes and only 0.044s ahead of his team-mate, Button, in third.

Robert Kubica was fourth for Renault – albeit half a second behind the front runners. A further half a second behind came the Ferrari of Felipe Massa, who led a gaggle of cars – from fifth to eighth – which were covered by just over a tenth of a second.

Team-mate Fernando Alonso found himself in ninth, but mainly spent the morning session evaluating Ferrari’s new exhaust system. The local hero firstly carried out a heat soak test in the pitlane before being seen out on track with temperature-sensitive stickers plastered on the side of his F10.

Although tyre graining proved to be an issue for the drivers, the session passed without much incident – the only red flag coming after the detached wing mirror of Bruno Senna’s Hispania was run over by Sebastien Buemi (Toro Rosso), prompting it to shatter.

Regular Force India tester Paul di Resta, who finished P1 in sixteenth, was joined out on circuit by Christian Klien – who made his return to a Grand Prix weekend for the first time in years for Hispania. The latter would replace Karun Chandhok for the opening session, but struggled in twenty-third after a gearbox issue.

Pos  Driver         Team                    Time              Laps
1.   Rosberg        Mercedes                1:41.175            16
2.   Hamilton       McLaren-Mercedes        1:41.339  + 0.164   19
3.   Button         McLaren-Mercedes        1:41.383  + 0.208   21
4.   Kubica         Renault                 1:41.715  + 0.540   20
5.   Massa          Ferrari                 1:42.182  + 1.007   21
6.   Vettel         Red Bull-Renault        1:42.216  + 1.041   24
7.   Webber         Red Bull-Renault        1:42.275  + 1.100   17
8.   Schumacher     Mercedes                1:42.312  + 1.137   18
9.   Alonso         Ferrari                 1:42.421  + 1.246   22
10.  Barrichello    Williams-Cosworth       1:42.463  + 1.288   21
11.  Hulkenberg     Williams-Cosworth       1:42.707  + 1.532   23
12.  Petrov         Renault                 1:42.962  + 1.787   17
13.  Buemi          Toro Rosso-Ferrari      1:43.310  + 2.135   23
14.  Liuzzi         Force India-Mercedes    1:43.380  + 2.205   19
15.  de la Rosa     Sauber-Ferrari          1:43.397  + 2.222   21
16.  di Resta       Force India-Mercedes    1:43.437  + 2.262   18
17.  Kobayashi      Sauber-Ferrari          1:43.729  + 2.554   21
18.  Alguersuari    Toro Rosso-Ferrari      1:44.183  + 3.008   21
19.  Kovalainen     Lotus-Cosworth          1:44.491  + 3.316   21
20.  Glock          Virgin-Cosworth         1:45.653  + 4.478   23
21.  Senna          HRT-Cosworth            1:47.123  + 5.948   17
22.  Trulli         Lotus-Cosworth          1:47.285  + 6.110   18
23.  Klien          HRT-Cosworth            1:47.343  + 6.168   14
24.  di Grassi      Virgin-Cosworth         1:47.356  + 6.181   24

Practice Two:

Fernando Alonso sent local fans into raptures, as the Ferrari driver topped the afternoon practice session in Valencia.

The Spaniard made use of Ferrari’s package of upgrades for this weekend to set a benchmark time of 1m39.283s with half an hour of the session remaining.

However, the 28-year-old was pressed hard by the Red Bull of Sebastian Vettel, who managed a time only 0.144s shy – with team-mate Mark Webber in third.

Nico Rosberg, who had topped this morning’s opening practice session, maintained his impressive form in fourth, followed by championship leader Lewis Hamilton.

However, the latter’s team-mate Jenson Button found himself slip down the order to ninth. as Kubica (Renault), Massa (Ferrari) and Sutil’s Force India all bettered his time.

As was the case in the Practice One, the teams were still hampered by graining issues. However, this did not result in a great deal of incident, with those falling off the circuit able to rejoin.

The great casualty of the session was Timo Glock, who could only complete fourteen laps before being forced to park his Virgin car at the side of the circuit.

Pos  Driver       Team                  Time       Gap       Laps
1.   Alonso       Ferrari               1m39.283s            33
2.   Vettel       Red Bull-Renault      1m39.339s  + 0.056s  27
3.   Webber       Red Bull-Renault      1m39.427s  + 0.144s  29
4.   Rosberg      Mercedes              1m39.650s  + 0.367s  22
5.   Hamilton     McLaren-Mercedes      1m39.749s  + 0.466s  24
6.   Kubica       Renault               1m39.880s  + 0.597s  28
7.   Massa        Ferrari               1m39.947s  + 0.664s  22
8.   Sutil        Force India-Mercedes  1m40.020s  + 0.737s  30
9.   Button       McLaren-Mercedes      1m40.029s  + 0.746s  27
10.  Barrichello  Williams-Cosworth     1m40.174s  + 0.891s  33
11.  Schumacher   Mercedes              1m40.287s  + 1.004s  24
12.  Liuzzi       Force India-Mercedes  1m40.387s  + 1.104s  33
13.  Petrov       Renault               1m40.618s  + 1.335s  29
14.  Kobayashi    Sauber-Ferrari        1m40.906s  + 1.623s  34
15.  de la Rosa   Sauber-Ferrari        1m40.945s  + 1.662s  30
16.  Buemi        Toro Rosso-Ferrari    1m41.115s  + 1.832s  35
17.  Hulkenberg   Williams-Cosworth     1m41.371s  + 2.088s  30
18.  Alguersuari  Toro Rosso-Ferrari    1m41.457s  + 2.174s  36
19.  Kovalainen   Lotus-Cosworth        1m42.467s  + 3.184s  31
20.  Trulli       Lotus-Cosworth        1m42.993s  + 3.710s  30
21.  Glock        Virgin-Cosworth       1m43.811s  + 4.528s  14
22.  di Grassi    Virgin-Cosworth       1m43.854s  + 4.571s  27
23.  Senna        HRT-Cosworth          1m44.095s  + 4.812s  24
24.  Chandhok     HRT-Cosworth          1m44.566s  + 5.283s  21