Vettel fastest around new Silverstone

Sebastian Vettel topped the opening free practice session for the 2010 British Grand Prix, as drivers attempted to get to grips with the new Silverstone circuit.

The Red Bull ace edged out the McLaren of Lewis Hamilton by just over three tenths of a second – with the Woking-based operation one of many teams to introduce new parts to its car.

Although it may be too early to judge the current pecking order, Vettel’s speed was obvious; with the RB6 appearing best suited to the circuit’s fast corners.

Silverstone’s brand new layout would pose a great test to the drivers, as they attempted to find the best possible set-up to master the track’s new ‘Arena’ section.

Hamilton may well have topped the timesheets, only to have been caught out on a number of occasions by a bump at the newly-profiled Abbey corner.

However, the year-old would not be the only competitor to be caught out by the bump, with Michael Schumacher, Paul di Resta, Timo Glock and Karun Chandhok all having moments during the session.

The brand new Loop corner was also a source of action, during the 90 minutes, with Schumacher having no more than two offs. The Mercedes GP driver was saved by the large run off areas around the corner, as was the likes of Felipe Massa, Nico Hulkenberg, Adrian Sutil and Fairuz Fauzy – who also had moments down at the corner.

Robert Kubica was a promising third for Renault; the Polish driver having tested a number of front wing configurations for the Enstone-based operation.

Red Bull’s Mark Webber was fourth, closely followed behind by Adrian Sutil (Force India), Nico Hulkenberg (Williams) and Nico Rosberg (Mercedes).

Reigning world champion Jenson Button was eighth and will be hoping that there is more to come from his MP4-25.

Sakon Yamamoto found himself at the bottom of the times in twenty-fourth place. The Japanese driver has replaced Bruno Senna at HRT for this weekend, with a press release on the issue expected shortly.

Pos  Driver         Team                   Time              Laps
1.   Vettel         Red Bull-Renault       1:32.280             22
2.   Hamilton       McLaren-Mercedes       1:32.614  +  0.334   16
3.   Kubica         Renault                1:32.725  +  0.445   21
4.   Webber         Red Bull-Renault       1:32.747  +  0.467   23
5.   Sutil          Force India-Mercedes   1:32.968  +  0.688   18
6.   Rosberg        Mercedes               1:33.318  +  1.038   21
7.   Hulkenberg     Williams-Cosworth      1:33.377  +  1.097   19
8.   Button         McLaren-Mercedes       1:33.519  +  1.239   20
9.   Schumacher     Mercedes               1:33.955  +  1.675   18
10.  Barrichello    Williams-Cosworth      1:34.016  +  1.736   17
11.  Buemi          Toro Rosso-Ferrari     1:34.132  +  1.852   21
12.  Petrov         Renault                1:34.365  +  2.085   22
13.  Alonso         Ferrari                1:34.490  +  2.210   20
14.  di Resta       Force India-Mercedes   1:34.580  +  2.300   22
15.  Kobayashi      Sauber-Ferrari         1:34.710  +  2.430   16
16.  de la Rosa     Sauber-Ferrari         1:34.901  +  2.621   17
17.  Massa          Ferrari                1:35.037  +  2.757   21
18.  Alguersuari    Toro Rosso-Ferrari     1:35.318  +  3.038   27
19.  Kovalainen     Lotus-Cosworth         1:36.747  +  4.467   16
20.  Glock          Virgin-Cosworth        1:37.330  +  5.050   11
21.  di Grassi      Virgin-Cosworth        1:37.518  +  5.238   15
22.  Chandhok       HRT-Cosworth           1:38.735  +  6.455   21
23.  Fauzy          Lotus-Cosworth         1:39.510  +  7.230   11
24.  Yamamoto       HRT-Cosworth           1:39.673  +  7.393   27