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Alonso and Vettel lead problem hit practice sessions - Fog, missing helicopters, beached tractors, and mixed up times

Published by Christine

Alonso and Vettel lead problem hit practice sessions
Credit: Pirelli S.p.A
Alonso and Vettel lead problem hit practice sessions audio waveform

The first Free Practice session in the US was delayed at first due to bad visibility and then because the medical helicopter had to be replaced. Shortened to just one hour of practice, with a red flag stoppage in the middle, the drivers couldn’t do much.

Fernando Alonso led the way, with Jenson Button and Valtteri Bottas behind him. Daniil Kvyat was in the Toro Rosso, ahead of his debut with the team next year, but the Russian driver could only complete 20 laps in the short time available. Heikki Kovalainen also made his return with Lotus, finishing the morning 13th.

In the afternoon, Red Bull returned to the top with Sebastian Vettel fastest and Mark Webber just behind. The Mercedes duo secured the next two spots with Kovalainen fifth, ahead of two surprisingly speedy Saubers.

Max Chilton spun off track at the final corner, bringing out the yellow flags with four minutes of the session remaining. A brake failure saw flames at the front of the car but no real carnage, although the tractor that moved in to recover the Marussia also found itself a bit stuck, but got going eventually.