Sat, May 21, 2011 - Page 20 News List

Red Bull’s Webber on pace in first Spanish practice

Reuters and AP, BARCELONA, SPAIN

Red Bull Racing’s Australian driver Mark Webber signs autographs on Thursday at the Circuit de Catalunya in Montmelo on the outskirts of Barcelona, Spain.

Photo: AFP

Australian Mark Webber was fastest in Spanish Grand Prix practice yesterday as the dominating pace of Formula One leader Red Bull again gave it the edge over McLaren.

Webber’s lap time of 1 minute, 22.470 seconds was quickest at the Catalunya Circuit to edge McLaren rival Lewis Hamilton by 0.039 seconds.

Teammate Sebastian Vettel, who has won three of the season’s first four races coming in, was third ahead of Jenson Button of McLaren.

Ferrari was the next closest to the front two, but Fernando Alonso was more than a second slower than Webber, who won here last year.

Earlier in the first practice, Webber lapped a second faster than Vettel.

Webber, winner at the Circuit de Catalunya last year, but still waiting to get on top of the podium this season, set an early pace of 1 minute 25.142 seconds on a sunny morning at the Barcelona track.

Vettel, the championship leader who has won three of the season’s four races so far and started on pole in all of them, was 1.007 slower on the timing screens.

Germany’s Nico Rosberg was third-fastest for Mercedes ahead of Ferrari’s Fernando Alonso and Mexican Sergio Perez for Sauber.

Alonso, the crowd favorite, was making his first appearance since he signed an extension to his contract keeping him at Ferrari until at least 2016.

Hamilton was sixth for McLaren, ahead of seven-time world champion Michael Schumacher’s Mercedes.

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