Wednesday, June 19, 2024

Massa fastest; Sutil, Di Resta in top 10


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Greater Noida: Ferrari’s Felipe Massa set the pace with the quickest practice drive while India’s Narain Karthikeyan had a nightmarish outing in the practice sessions of the Indian Grand Prix, which made its debut at the newly-built Buddh International Circuit here today.

Massa emerged as the quickest in the afternoon’s practice session, toppling Red Bull’s newly-crowned world champion Sebastian Vettel by 0.088 seconds. His Ferrari team-mate Fernando Alonso emerged as the third quickest.

While Massa stole the limelight on BIC’s first outing, Force India drivers also gave home fans something to cheer about with with Adrian Sutil emerging as the seventh fastest, two places above teammate Paul di Resta.

However, it turned out to be a nightmarish outing for India’s lone driver, Karthikeyan who finished last in the 24th position (1:32.824) in FP2 after finishing two places above in the morning session.

Brazilian Massa was seventh in the morning’s practice session with a timing of 1:28.644 but edged out Vettel in the afternoon when he clocked 1:25.706.

Pace setter Massa was impressed with the track layout although it was still dusty.

“It’s a nice track, different. The last corner makes the entry wide which creates different directions for the race. You need to brake more in the middle of the corner and it’s a good idea for overtaking,” he said.

“The car was good, competitive. The track was dirty and it’s difficult since there is a lot of sand outside the lane,” he added.

Vettel finished second fastest in both the sessions but was a bit slow in the afternoon (1:27.416) compared to his morning drill when he managed 1:25.794.

Sutil was eighth in the first session (1:28.705) but improved his timing in the afternoon (1:27.316) to get to the seventh place, two places above team mate Paul di Resta (1:27853).

Resta was 11th in the morning when he recorded his fastest lap in one minute 29.700 seconds.

Fernando Alonso, who could manage just four laps in the morning due to a technical problem, was third in the second session with a timing of 1:25.930.

However, it was disappointing for McLaren’s Lewis Hamilton, who was handed a three-place grid penalty in the first practice session, where he set the fastest time. He was fourth in the second run (1:26.454), followed by Red Bull’s Mark Webber (1:26.500) and McLaren teammate Jenson Button (1:26.714).

Mercedes’ Michael Schumacher (1:31.804) was 21st in the second session after finishing fifth (1:28.531) in the morning.

Williams Pastor Maldonado and Virgin’s J D’Ambrosio had suffered crashes in the morning.

Toro Roso’s Sebastien Buemi completed the top 10 with 1m 27.868s from Vitaly Petrov, who spun the other Renault but later managed 1m 27.890s.

Even though he finished last, local favourite Karthikeyan was satisfied with his outing today.

“The first lap was very special. I felt so many emotions driving in India. I just could not believe it, ” he said. (PTI)


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