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Red Bull tops Friday practice

June 19th, 2009

Sebastian Vettel, Britain, 2009The two Red Bulls of Sebastian Vettel and Mark Webber posted the quickest time in both practice sessions for the British Grand Prix at a windy Silverstone on Friday.

Sebastian Vettel outpaced his team mate in both sessions but the new parts Red Bull have fitted (including a new front wing and nose) were obviously working well.

Mark Webber’s second session was cut short when he hit the curb and lost all electrical power:

It’s been a pretty good day for us; we’ve tried a few new bits here, which seem to be going pretty well. We’ve tried both sets of tyres and need to go through all the data tonight.  My second session ended a little early as I hit a kerb on Turn five, which caused the car’s electronics to stop.

In the first session, the two Brawn GP cars were 3rd and 4th fastest but, surprisingly, it was Force India’s Adrian Sutil who went 3rd fastest in the second session.

As Silverstone is such a light braking circuit, it can be hard to harvest enough energy to make KERS worthwhile so McLaren chose to run different strategies for their drivers in practice.  Heikki Kovalainen continued to use KERS while Lewis Hamilton ran without the device as Norbert Haug explains:

Lewis today drove without KERS because Silverstone is a circuit where you do not brake too often: you get less of a benefit from the system here than you would on heavy-braking circuits. By way of comparison, Heikki used the system today and our specialists will analyse today’s results and decide whether we choose to continue using the system on his car for the rest of the weekend.

It will be interesting to see what they choose to do on Saturday as Kovalainen felt he could still make use of KERS:

It’s still difficult to say whether it’s an advantage to be running KERS, but I felt I was getting a laptime benefit from the system.

Morning showers are predicted for Saturday but it should be dry by the time qualifying gets underway.

Here are the times from the first two practice sessions:
First Practice

Pos Driver Team Time
1 Sebastian Vettel Red Bull-Renault 1:19.400
2 Mark Webber Red Bull-Renault 1:19.682
3 Jenson Button Brawn-Mercedes 1:20.227
4 Rubens Barrichello Brawn-Mercedes 1:20.242
5 Fernando Alonso Renault 1:20.458
6 Felipe Massa Ferrari 1:20.471
7 Jarno Trulli Toyota 1:20.585
8 Lewis Hamilton McLaren 1:20.650
9 Nico Rosberg Williams-Toyota 1:20.815
10 Giancarlo Fisichella Force India-Mercedes 1:20.838
11 Adrian Sutil Force India-Mercedes 1:20.913
12 Heikki Kovalainen McLaren-Mercedes 1:21.029
13 Nick Heidfeld BMW Sauber 1:21.103
14 Kimi Raikkonen Ferrari 1:21.179
15 Sebastien Bourdais Toro Rosso-Ferrari 1:21.384
16 Timo Glock Toyota 1:21.386
17 Kazuki Nakajima Williams-Toyota 1:21.489
18 Nelson Piquet Jr Renault 1:21.525
19 Sebastien Buemi Toro Rosso-Ferrari 1:21.590
20 Robert Kubica BMW Sauber 1:21.801

Second Practice

Pos Driver Team Time
1 Sebastian Vettel Red Bull-Renault 1:19.456
2 Mark Webber Red Bull-Renault 1:19.597
3 Adrian Sutil Force India-Mercedes 1:20.141
4 Kazuki Nakajima Williams-Toyota 1:20.209
5 Fernando Alonso Renault 1:20.237
6 Rubens Barrichello Brawn-Mercedes 1:20.244
7 Lewis Hamilton McLaren 1:20.417
8 Jarno Trulli Toyota 1:20.458
9 Nico Rosbert Williams 1:20.468
10 Nelson Piquet Jr Renault 1:20.608
11 Robert Kubica BMW Sauber 1:20.622
12 Heikki Kovalainen McLaren-Mercedes 1:20.733
13 Timo Glock Toyota 1:20.762
14 Jenson Button Brawn-Mercedes 1:20.767
15 Nick Heidfeld BMW Sauber 1:20.932
16 Sebastien Bourdais Toro Rosso-Ferrari 1:20.945
17 Felipe Massa Ferrari 1:21.005
18 Kimi Raikkonen Ferrari 1:21.132
19 Giancarlo Fisichella Force India-Mercedes 1:21.413
20 Sebastien Buemi Toro Rosso-Ferrari 1:21.668
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