Sat, Oct 05, 2013 - Page 19 News List

Britain’s Hamilton sets pace at Yeongam circuit

Reuters, YEONGAM, South Korea

Mercedes driver Lewis Hamilton of Britain drives his car during the first practice session for the Formula One Korean Grand Prix at the Korean Circuit in Yeongam yesterday.

Photo: AFP

Lewis Hamilton kept championship leader Sebastian Vettel off the top of the timesheets in both of yesterday’s practice sessions for the Korean Formula One Grand Prix, while Kimi Raikkonen slammed his Lotus into a tire wall.

The Mercedes driver lapped the anti-clockwise Yeongam circuit, set against a backdrop of coastal marshes and South Korean shipyard cranes, with a best time of 1 minute, 39.630 seconds in the morning and 1:38.673 after lunch.

“I feel like I have a bit of a better foundation this weekend. I can’t remember the last time I had a really strong Friday,” the Briton said.

Red Bull’s Vettel, chasing his fourth win in a row since the end of August and third in succession in Korea, was second-quickest in both sessions run in bright sunshine and under cloudless skies.

The German was a mere 0.037 seconds slower in the first, after firing in his best lap in the closing seconds, and 0.108 adrift in the second.

“I think it will be very close this weekend with Mercedes,” Vettel said.

Raikkonen, who struggled with a bad back in Singapore two weeks ago, skidded hard into the tire wall at the final corner in the closing seconds of the morning session, but clambered out of the car without any apparent difficulty.

The 2007 world champion clocked the eighth-best times in both sessions.

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