Surprise at the first free practice session at the Australian Grand Prix on Friday noon (26 March): Renault driver Robert Kubica was able to with a Record the best time of 1.26.927 minutes.
Melbourne suits Renault
Even before the race weekend, the Pole had hoped that his team would look good in Melbourne because the Renault too works well with a very soft suspension setting. This is important in Melbourne for three reasons: a soft set-up increases the mechanical traction, absorbs the bumps on the street circuit optimally and also allows the pilots to drive harder over the curbs.
The pecking order established in the Formula 1 field at the season opener in Bahrain was also confirmed in principle in the first free practice session in Melbourne: The four top teams Ferrari, Red Bull, McLaren-Mercedes and Mercedes GP all brought their drivers among the top 14.
Schumacher with more fuel than Rosberg
Mercedes GP driver Nico Rosberg came two tenths of a second behind Kubica in second place. Team mate Michael Schumacher ended up in 12th place, 1.6 seconds behind. However, Schumacher contested free practice with a significantly higher fuel load than his team mate.
The McLaren-Mercedes drivers Jenson Button and Lewis Hamilton finished the first free practice in positions 3 and 7. Sebastian Vettel was in fifth place, while his Australian team-mate Mark Webber was a second slower. Just like us at Mercedes, the two Red Bulls also had different levels of difficulty. Webber drove with significantly more fuel on board than Vettel, which explains the time difference. The Ferrari drivers Massa and Alonso came in fourth and sixth.
Kobayashi twice in the gravel
Sauber driver Kamui Kobayashi triggered the first training interruption after 41 minutes after damaging the front spoiler on a bollard on his fourth lap and sledding through the gravel bed in the next corner. After the first hour of training, the Japanese also took care of the second training interruption of the day: In the braking zone in front of the third corner, the youngster came off the track slightly. The front wing then came off, causing Kobayashi to land in the gravel bed for the second time that day. This time the Sauber driver had to park his car.
An initial analysis by the Sauber team after the free practice showed that it was not incorrect operation of the new F-shaft system by pilot Kobayashi that was responsible for the take-off, but that the front wing was damaged beforehand. This damage led to a sudden loss of downforce on the front axle and is considered the trigger for the accident.
Debut for Paul di Resta
Adrian Sutil admitted for the first free practice his Force India cockpit for the official replacement pilot Paul di Resta - who pulled out of the affair considerably with 11th place. Williams driver Niko Hülkenberg finished the first free practice in 17th place, just one place behind his much more experienced team-mate Rubens Barrichello.
Virgin driver Timo Glock finished last, just eight seconds behind, but only drove eight laps. Towards the end of the first training session, Lotus Racing driver Heikki Kovalainen had to park his car early because of an impending hydraulic defect in the clutch area.