The new Korean International Circuit saw Formula One action for the first time today as the first two practice sessions got underway in Yeongam ahead of Sunday’s inaugural Korean Grand Prix.

After getting used to the layout in their early runs and assessing the grip levels of the newly-laid asphalt, Nico and Michael concentrated on developing the set-up of their cars over the two sessions, completing 50 laps and 51 laps respectively.

First Practice

1 L. Hamilton McLaren 1:40.887 15 Rd.
2 R. Kubica Renault 1:40.968 +0:00.081 18 Rd.
3 N. Rosberg Mercedes 1:41.152 +0:00.265 21 Rd.
4 S. Vettel Red Bull 1:41.371 +0:00.484 18 Rd.
5 J. Button McLaren 1:41.940 +0:01.053 16 Rd.
6 M. Schumacher Mercedes 1:42.022 +0:01.135 25 Rd.
7 M. Webber Red Bull 1:42.202 +0:01.315 23 Rd.
8 N. Heidfeld Sauber 1:42.293 +0:01.406 18 Rd.
9 N. Hülkenberg Williams 1:42.678 +0:01.791 21 Rd.
10 R. Barrichello Williams 1:42.883 +0:01.996 23 Rd.
11 V. Petrov Renault 1:42.896 +0:02.009 22 Rd.
12 F. Massa Ferrari 1:43.054 +0:02.167 25 Rd.
13 K. Kobayashi Sauber 1:43.309 +0:02.422 20 Rd.
14 A. Sutil Force India 1:43.602 +0:02.715 18 Rd.
15 F. Alonso Ferrari 1:43.928 +0:03.041 21 Rd.
16 S. Buemi Toro Rosso 1:43.940 +0:03.053 23 Rd.
17 V. Liuzzi Force India 1:44.887 +0:04.000 21 Rd.
18 J. Alguersuari Toro Rosso 1:45.141 +0:04.254 26 Rd.
19 T. Glock Virgin 1:45.588 +0:04.701 20 Rd.
20 J. D’Ambrosio Virgin 1:46.613 +0:05.726 17 Rd.
21 H. Kovalainen Lotus 1:47.115 +0:06.228 22 Rd.
22 S. Yamamoto HRT 1:50.347 +0:09.460 29 Rd.
23 B. Senna HRT 1:50.821 +0:09.934 15 Rd.
24 J. Trulli Lotus 1:51.701 +0:10.814 11 Rd.

Second Practice
1 M. Webber Red Bull 1:37.942 23 Rd.
2 F. Alonso Ferrari 1:38.132 +0:00.190 30 Rd.
3 L. Hamilton McLaren 1:38.279 +0:00.337 29 Rd.
4 R. Kubica Renault 1:38.718 +0:00.776 29 Rd.
5 J. Button McLaren 1:38.726 +0:00.784 19 Rd.
6 F. Massa Ferrari 1:38.820 +0:00.878 32 Rd.
7 S. Vettel Red Bull 1:39.204 +0:01.262 22 Rd.
8 V. Petrov Renault 1:39.267 +0:01.325 28 Rd.
9 N. Rosberg Mercedes 1:39.268 +0:01.326 29 Rd.
10 K. Kobayashi Sauber 1:39.564 +0:01.622 26 Rd.
11 N. Heidfeld Sauber 1:39.588 +0:01.646 25 Rd.
12 M. Schumacher Mercedes 1:39.598 +0:01.656 26 Rd.
13 R. Barrichello Williams 1:39.812 +0:01.870 35 Rd.
14 V. Liuzzi Force India 1:39.881 +0:01.939 27 Rd.
15 A. Sutil Force India 1:39.971 +0:02.029 22 Rd.
16 N. Hülkenberg Williams 1:40.478 +0:02.536 30 Rd.
17 J. Alguersuari Toro Rosso 1:40.578 +0:02.636 29 Rd.
18 S. Buemi Toro Rosso 1:40.896 +0:02.954 32 Rd.
19 H. Kovalainen Lotus 1:42.773 +0:04.831 29 Rd.
20 J. Trulli Lotus 1:42.801 +0:04.859 19 Rd.
21 T. Glock Virgin 1:43.115 +0:05.173 26 Rd.
22 L. di Grassi Virgin 1:44.039 +0:06.097 29 Rd.
23 S. Yamamoto HRT 1:45.166 +0:07.224 19 Rd.
24 B. Senna HRT 1:46.649 +0:08.707 3 Rd.

NICO ROSBERG
“The track is nice to drive and it should be good for racing with long straights and hairpins where you can try to overtake. The grip levels were fine after the first few laps and probably not as slippery as we expected. We did a good job with the set-up and the car feels pretty similar to the last few races so there are no particular issues to address. The tyre graining which we have seen today could create an interesting race. We’ll keep working to improve overnight and into qualifying tomorrow.”

MICHAEL SCHUMACHER
“The track has been very good and I enjoyed driving it today. Of course a new track with totally fresh asphalt needs to rubber in but it got better and improved massively over the day. I am very pleasantly surprised with the circuit. It is very demanding, challenging and tricky which provides a challenge that I like a lot. It has been a good day for us and we have been able to do a lot of work on track. We look pretty reasonable in terms of speed and pace and my aim would be for the top ten in qualifying and to score points in the race.”

ROSS BRAWN
“We are all very pleased to see the cars running for the first time here in Korea today and credit to the venue for ensuring that everything was ready on time for the practice sessions. We’ve had a reasonable first day with the car looking particularly strong in the first sector where we showed good straightline speed. The grip levels came in quickly and positively over the day which helped. Everyone is finding that the tyres are struggling with graining on higher fuel levels, particularly on the option, but if the track continues to improve, that may ease. Overall we can be pleased with our start to the weekend.”

NORBERT HAUG
“A very interesting new track with a layout which is quite unique compared to other circuits. Sincere compliments to the organisers and the thousands of people who worked so hard day and night over the last couple of months to make this race happen. This is a very special new venue for Formula One and whilst every detail is not yet in place, everything will be even better for next year’s event. Our first sessions went quite well today and with our current technical package, we managed to be where we have been positioned in the last couple of races. I am sure the first Korean Grand Prix will be a thrilling race.”

Source: Mercedes GP