Championship leader Mark Webber led a trio of Formula One title rivals at the top of the practice timesheets after a slippery first day at South Korea’s new circuit on Friday.
The Australian spun his Red Bull off at turn 12 before returning to the track and immediately setting the fastest lap of the day, one minute 37.942 seconds, in the afternoon session.
Ferrari’s Fernando Alonso, second in the championship with Red Bull’s Sebastian Vettel and 14 points adrift, was 0.190 slower after lapping only 15th fastest in the first session on a dusty surface.
McLaren’s Lewis Hamilton, fourth in the title battle and 28 points behind Webber, was third fastest after setting the pace before lunch with a best lap of one minute 40.887 seconds.
In a measure of how competitive the field is, four teams filled the top four places with Poland’s Robert Kubica fourth in second practice for Renault.
Vettel was seventh, the position Webber occupied in the morning.
McLaren’s Jenson Button, the reigning champion, mirrored his overall championship position by ending both sessions in fifth place.
The Briton’s car had to be doused with fire extinguishers during the second session as the rear overheated but there was no significant damage and he was able to get back on track.
A decent turnout of fans, many of them schoolchildren getting their first taste of Formula One, watched as drivers struggled to stay on a dusty track that has yet to witness any actual racing.
Hamilton only ventured out late in the morning, but it was not long before he lit up the timing screens with the fastest times through all three sectors.
F1 teams stay in brothels due to lack of hotels at Korean Grand Prix
London (ANI): Formula One teams are staying in brothels because of a lack of hotels at the Korean Grand Prix.
The 150 pounds-a-night ‘love hotel’ rooms are the only spaces available near the Yeongam track and disgusted crew along with other members are even finding piles of used condoms under their beds.
“One of the Sauber mechanics was asked if he also wanted a girl for the week. And one of the hospitality girls is convinced her room was ‘let out’ for a few hours while she was away,” the Sun quoted a team member as saying.
Drivers and bosses have filled up the few top hotels in the area, which is 350 miles from capital Seoul.