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Hamilton sets early pace at Yeongam

NEWS STORY
12/10/2012

Ahead of today's opening practice session, the air temperature is 17 degrees C, while the track temperature is 22 degrees.

Tyre choices this weekend are soft (prime) and the supersoft (option).

Jules Bianchi steps into Nico Hulkenberg's Force India, while Valtteri Bottas is in Bruno Senna's Williams, Giedo van der Garde is in Vitaly Petrov's Caterham and Dani Clos will drive Narain Karthikeyan's HRT.

The lights go green and Vergne leads the way followed by Grosjean and Ricciardo. Raikkonen almost goes off at Turn 4.

Massa, who se car is absolutely covered in flo-vis paint almost trips up over Van der Garde, as does Hamilton. While some drivers opt for a two-lap installation, nobody posts a time.

The track, which is rarely used other than for this weekend, is green and dusty, hence a number of drivers, including Vettel, run wide. Just eight minutes into the session, all twenty-four drivers have been out.

Bottas posts the first time of the day, the Finn crossing the line at 45.225. In the Lotus garage, James Allison oversees his crew as they work on the new exhaust, the Enstone team having opted to drop its 'device' for the time being.

As Button becomes the second driver to posts a time, the Englishman going quickest with a 41.395, teammate Hamilton goes third (46.665), an early sign of McLaren's intent this weekend. While most drivers have completed just the odd installation lap, or two, between them the McLaren duo have already completed twelve.

Maldonado goes fourth with a 44.469 as Grosjean and Pic head down the pitlane. Elsewhere, Button pits, his mechanics all wearing the KERS safety gloves, suggesting he could have a problem.

Grosjean immediately goes second (42.365), as Hamilton improves to 44.003, McLaren continuing to use these Friday session as a glorified test. Then again, with the title fight(s) threatening to become a two-horse race who can blame them.

Maldonado improves to 42.120 the Venezuelan clearly buoyed by his strong showing in Japan. Elsewhere, Grosjean and de la Rosa lock up.

As Perez goes fifth (43.283), Alonso goes quickest in the first two sectors, finally crossing the line at 40.895, taking the top spot by exactly 0.500.

Clos gets in the way of Perez at the beginning of the lap, just as one of the Toro Rossos is leaving the pits. A bit of silliness from the Spaniard.

Massa makes it a Ferrari 1-2 when he crosses the line at 41.369, the Brazilian slotting in ahead of Button. Maldonado, Grosjean, Perez and Bottas.

Alonso raises the stakes with a 39.857 as Webber and Rosberg leave the pits. Perez goes wide at T8, the Sauber kicking up a great cloud of dust.

As in Japan, Rosberg is told that his rear tyres are running too hot. Elsewhere, teammate Schumacher, having gone seventh, goes quickest in S1.

With 46:00 on the clock, Raikkonen, Glock, Webber and Vettel are the only drivers yet to post a time. Glock having the steering rack changed on his Marussia.

A 41.064 sees Schumacher improve to third, just ahead of di Resta, Massa, Rosberg and Button.

Rosberg posts 40.546 to go second, 0.689s off Alonso's pace, the German having been quickest of all in S1. Vettel and Webber leave the pits.

On his first flying lap, Webber posts 41.743 to go tenth, as di Resta complains of "savage" graining on his front tyres.

Vettel's first flying lap sees the German go eighteenth (44.291), as the Marussia crew continues to work on Glock's car.

Webber goes second (40.413), the Australian having gone quickest in S3. Teammate Vettel improves to fifteenth (42.394).

As he improves to fifth (40.893), the on board reveals Vettel to be wearing yet another new helmet livery. Elsewhere, Alonso goes quickest in S2, subsequently crossing the line at 39.450, almost a second quicker than Webber.

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