- Korean Grand Prix - FP1
Hamilton quickest as Raikkonen crashes heavilyChris Medland October 4, 2013
- Korean Grand Prix
Lewis Hamilton set the fastest time of first practice for the Korean Grand Prix as the session ended with a heavy crash for Kimi Raikkonen.
Hamilton set the pace with a time of 1:39.630 set mid-way through the session, edging out both Red Bulls as Sebastian Vettel and Mark Webber improved with their final laps. Vettel was just 0.037s off Hamilton's time with Webber a further 0.15s back, but their efforts were overshadowed by Raikkonen's crash which will leave Lotus with a busy lunchtime ahead of FP2.
Fighting understeer through the high-speed final corner in the final ten seconds of the session, Raikkonen then lost the rear of the car as he tried to take the final left-hand kink and speared towards the tyre wall on the inside of the track. The nose of his car and whole left-hand side were heavily damaged, but Raikkonen's back showed no ill effects from the incident as he walked back to the garage having simply told his team over the radio: "I hit the wall".
Behind the front three drivers, Nico Rosberg was almost half a second slower than his team-mate and less than 0.1s clear of Jenson Button. Fernando Alonso and Romain Grosjean were the only other two drivers to get within a second of Hamilton's time but were still both 0.75s off the pace.
Alonso's team-mate Felipe Massa had his running limited to 13 laps after Ferrari noticed a puncture on his front-left tyre during his out-lap halfway through the session. With the team keen not to overuse its tyre allocation, Massa was confined to the garage until the final 20 minutes and ended up with the 10th fastest time.
It was a session littered with errors as drivers struggled with the lack of grip on a circuit barely used outside of the grand prix weekend. Cars were often running wide or spinning - with Hamilton himself ending up facing the wrong way at Turn 10 - while Rodolfo Gonzalez hit the wall early on in his Marussia, taking the nose off the car having run wide at Turn 11 and lost grip on the astroturf.
James Calado - replacing Paul di Resta at Force India for FP1 - also appeared to struggle with the track conditions. Having made a strong start by matching the early lap times, two spins and numerous off-track excursions meant he didn't improve late on and ended up 1.5s slower than team-mate Adrian Sutil.
Chris Medland is assistant editor at ESPNF1