Felipe Massa goes fastest in India Grand Prix practice

Felipe Massa was fastest for Ferrari today as Formula One's oldest team set the pace at the sport's newest circuit in practice for the inaugural Indian Grand Prix.

If the morning was a tale of Indian pride, stray dogs and Englishman Lewis Hamilton collecting a three place grid penalty for ignoring warning flags after setting the quickest lap, the afternoon ended a red letter day with a red car on top.



Massa's lap was the fastest yet in the heat and dust of the barely completed $450 million Buddh International layout, near New Delhi, clocking a best time of one minute 25.706 seconds.



Double world champion Sebastian Vettel was second in both sessions on a day of huge significance for Indian motorsport but with very little importance in a championship whose titles have already been won by the German and his Red Bull team.



Fernando Alonso reinforced Ferrari's potential with the third fastest time in the second session after suffering a blown engine in the morning.



In keeping with the sense of history, teams hit the track for the first time with the colours of the national flag leading the way.



The first car out of the pitlane was the saffron, white and green Force India, driven by Germany's Adrian Sutil.



It was followed closely by Team Lotus's Indian reserve Karun Chandhok, the second Force India of Paul di Resta and then Indian racer Narain Karthikeyan in the HRT.



Chandhok, who will not race on Sunday, had the honour of setting the first timed lap.



Karthikeyan, who became the only Indian ever to score points in Formula One when he was at Jordan in 2005, ended the day last on the timing screens but comforted that his presence was what really mattered.







"It's an emotional moment for all of us," Force India team principal Vijay Mallya told reporters.



"There was a lot of speculation about whether the track would be ready and the event has had its fair share of controversy after what happened with the Commonwealth Games, but we're ready. It's a great track and the drivers love it."



A large black stray dog appeared on the main pit straight, one of the longest in the sport, shortly before the first session was due to start.



Another appeared minutes into the action, causing practice to be red-flagged for safety reasons for five minutes while the offending canine was rounded up.



Hamilton set a best lap of 1:26.836 right at the end of that session to deny Vettel and Red Bull's Australian Mark Webber an immediate one-two on the timesheets but fell foul of the stewards who imposed his sixth penalty of the season.



They ruled the 2008 champion and Sauber's Mexican Sergio Perez had both ignored waved double yellow flags warning that a car was being recovered by marshals working close to the track.



The penalty meant Hamilton, sporting a helmet with the image of the late reggae singer Bob Marley on top, could no longer hope to start on pole position for a second successive race.



There were no dogs to delay matters in the afternoon but the session was again red-flagged when Belgian Jerome D'Ambrosio crashed his Virgin heavily.



Many of the drivers's cars and helmets carried the logos and numbers of British racer Dan Wheldon and Italian MotoGP rider Marco Simoncelli, who both died in accidents since the previous Korean Grand Prix.



Reuters

PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
Wayne’s estate faces a claim for alleged copyright breaches
John Wayne's heirs duke it out with university over use of the late film star's nickname
News
peopleIndian actress known as the 'Grand Old Lady of Bollywood' was 102
News
business
News
Mick Jagger performing at Glastonbury
people
Life and Style
beautyBelgian fan lands L'Oreal campaign after being spotted at World Cup
Sport
Germany's Andre Greipel crosses the finish line to win the sixth stage of the Tour de France cycling race over 194 kilometers (120.5 miles) with start in Arras and finish in Reims, France
tour de franceGerman champion achieves sixth Tour stage win in Reims
Caption competition
Caption competition
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Daily World Cup Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Career Services

Day In a Page

The true Gaza back-story that the Israelis aren’t telling this week

The true Gaza back-story that the Israelis aren’t telling this week

A future Palestine state will have no borders and be an enclave within Israel, surrounded on all sides by Israeli-held territory, says Robert Fisk
A History of the First World War in 100 Moments: The German people demand an end to the fighting

A History of the First World War in 100 Moments

The German people demand an end to the fighting
New play by Oscar Wilde's grandson reveals what the Irish wit said at his trials

New play reveals what Oscar Wilde said at trials

For a century, what Wilde actually said at his trials was a mystery. But the recent discovery of shorthand notes changed that. Now his grandson Merlin Holland has turned them into a play
Can scientists save the world's sea life from

Can scientists save our sea life?

By the end of the century, the only living things left in our oceans could be plankton and jellyfish. Alex Renton meets the scientists who are trying to turn the tide
Richard III, Trafalgar Studios, review: Martin Freeman gives highly intelligent performance

Richard III review

Martin Freeman’s psychotic monarch is big on mockery but wanting in malice
Hollywood targets Asian audiences as US films enjoy record-breaking run at Chinese box office

Hollywood targets Asian audiences

The world's second biggest movie market is fast becoming the Hollywood studios' most crucial
Grindr founder Joel Simkhai: 'I've found love on my dating app - and my mum keeps trying to hook me up!'

Grindr founder Joel Simkhai: 'I've found love on my dating app'

Five years on from its launch and Grindr is the world's most popular dating app for gay men. Its founder Joel Simkhai answers his critics, describes his isolation as a child
Autocorrect has its uses but it can go rogue with embarrassing results - so is it time to ditch it?

Is it time to ditch autocorrect?

Matthew J X Malady persuaded friends to message manually instead, but failed to factor in fat fingers and drunk texting
10 best girls' summer dresses

Frock chick: 10 best girls' summer dresses

Get them ready for the holidays with these cool and pretty options 
Westminster’s dark secret: Adultery, homosexuality, sadomasochism and abuse of children were all seemingly lumped together

Westminster’s dark secret

Adultery, homosexuality, sadomasochism and abuse of children were all seemingly lumped together
A History of the First World War in 100 Moments: Dulce et decorum est - a life cut short for a poet whose work achieved immortality

A History of the First World War in 100 Moments

Dulce et decorum est: a life cut short for a poet whose work achieved immortality
Google tells popular music website to censor album cover art in 'sexually explicit content' ban

Naked censorship?

The strange case of Google, the music website and the nudity take-down requests
Howzat! 8 best cricket bats

Howzat! 8 best cricket bats

As England take on India at Trent Bridge, here is our pick of the high-performing bats to help you up your run-count this summer 
Brazil vs Germany World Cup 2014 comment: David Luiz falls from leader figure to symbol of national humiliation

David Luiz falls from leader figure to symbol of national humiliation

Captain appears to give up as shocking 7-1 World Cup semi-final defeat threatens ramifications in Brazil