Massa on top after frantic first day in India
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Felipe Massa ended an incident-packed first day of running on the new Buddh International Circuit on top of the time sheets, the Ferrari driver clocking a 1:25.706 to finish ahead of Sebastian Vettel, Fernando Alonso and Lewis Hamilton. Mark Webber finished fifth fastest from Jenson Button, Adrian Sutil and Bruno Senna.
The second session started with the knowledge that Lewis Hamilton and Sergio Perez had both been slapped with a three place grid penalty for ignoring doubled waved yellow flags in FP1 when marshals were recovering Pastor Maldonado's stricken Williams at turn 16.
Despite the setback, Hamilton was soon on the pace setting a time quicker than his morning effort, shortly after Maldonado's day went from bad to worse. After retiring with a technical glitch in the morning session, the Venezuelan lost control into turn 9, ditching his Williams into the gravel trap exactly where Jaime Alguersuari lost it in the morning session.
A somewhat bigger shunt followed when Jerome d'Ambrosio ran wide onto the kerb at turn 11, pitching his car off line and into the barrier. The impact ripped part of the rear from his Virgin but he walked away unscathed and his car was efficiently cleared by the Buddh marshals.
With visibly less dust on the racing line so the lap times tumbled, Alonso and Vettel bettering Hamilton's mark. A 1:25.706 then launched Massa to the top of the times and that is where he stayed. Interestingly, television footage showed his front wing noticably flexing heavily on the run down to turn four to such an extent that it made contact with the tarmac.
There was to be no joy for the home Indian faithful, however, Narain Karthikeyan propping up the lap times in his HRT.
Dogs on the circuit, grid penalties and shunts aplenty. Nobody can say that day one in India has been short on incident!