- Korean Grand Prix - FP1
Schumacher quickest in wet Korea
Vergne not analysing performance
Chandhok growing in confidence
McLaren dominates in damp conditions
- Korean Grand Prix
- FIA Formula One World Championship
Michael Schumacher set the fastest time during a very wet first practice session for the Korean Grand Prix.
Schumacher's time of 2:02.784 edged out world champion Sebastian Vettel by just 0.056 seconds. Paul di Resta was third with a 2:02.912 ahead of his Force India team-mate Adrian Sutil, with Sebastian Buemi in fifth place in a session that saw little running but which was littered with off-track excursions.
Having ended the 2010 race weekend with wet conditions, it was the same story at Yeongam as heavy rain left a lot of standing water on the track. The rain continued to fall steadily for much of the session, which meant that the first 45 minutes saw very little running apart from the usual installation laps. Lewis Hamilton and Buemi were the first to venture out and set lap times as drivers reported good grip levels but a risk of aquaplaning.
The rain relented slightly with half an hour still to run, bringing more cars out on to the circuit. Conditions remained difficult though, as Pastor Maldonado displayed by running wide exiting the pit lane. Spray was a factor too as Vettel almost found out to his cost when he came across a slow-moving Virgin on the racing line and had to react quickly to avoid running in to the back of it.
The rain became more steady once again towards the end of the session but the number of cars on track meant that the standing water was being cleared from the racing line. This caused drivers to push harder, with Karun Chandhok and Narain Karthikeyan spinning, and Maldonado running off track on numerous occasions.
The fastest laps were set right at the end of the session, with Vettel going quickest before Schumacher beat his time. The action didn't end with the chequered flag though, as Kamui Kobayashi ran wide in the pit lane due to a large puddle at the entrance, and then Schumacher did the same at higher speed, brushing the barriers having run across the grass.
It was a low-key debut for Red Bull young driver Jean-Eric Vergne in the Toro Rosso as he only completed nine laps, setting the 13th fastest time and ending the session over four seconds slower than team-mate Buemi. Those who enjoyed less productive mornings were Felipe Massa, Fernando Alonso, Bruno Senna, Vitaly Petrov, Heikki Kovalainen and Jenson Button, all of whom failed to set a time.
Chris Medland is an assistant editor of ESPNF1