Reuters: Michael Schumacher lived up to his fame as a master of wet conditions with the fastest time in Friday’s first free practice for the Korean Formula One Grand Prix.
Mercedes’ 42-year-old ‘Regenmeister’ (Rainmaster) lapped the Yeongam circuit with a best time of two minutes 02.784 seconds.
Red Bull’s newly crowned double world champion Sebastian Vettel was second fastest, with a lap 0.056 slower than his illustrious compatriot, on a morning when the times meant nothing.
Six drivers, including Ferrari’s Fernando Alonso and Felipe Massa and McLaren’s Japanese Grand Prix winner Jenson Button did not set timed laps as the rain fell steadily and made track conditions treacherous.
Even Schumacher’s sure touch failed him momentarily when he skidded off onto the grass at the pit lane entry.Britain’s Paul di Resta was third fastest, denying German drivers a 1-2-3 at the top of the timesheets with team mate Adrian Sutil fourth.
With the grandstand largely empty and conditions resembling those on race day a year ago when the start had to be delayed, fans venturing to the track some 320km to the south of Seoul saw little action.
Young French test driver Jean-Eric Vergne took part in practice with Toro Rosso while Indians Narain Karthikeyan and Karun Chandhok, both hoping to race in their home grand prix later this month, turned out for HRT and Team Lotus respectively.
Vergne will also take part in practice for the team in Abu Dhabi and the season-ender in Brazil.