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
The comedian, 42, made the controversial comment following the athlete’s sentencing to five years for the culpable homicide of Reeva Steenkamp on Tuesday
peopleComedian's quip about Reeva Steenkamp was less than well received at music magazine awards
News
Cumberbatch spectacularly photobombs U2 at the Oscars
news
Life and Style
Could you tell the difference between this and an organic alternative?
food + drink

Culinary experts in The Netherlands thought it was 'fresh' and 'tasty'

News
Will menus with calorie counts really deter junk-food addicts from eating junk?
i100
Sport
Today's Liverpool Echo back page
football
Life and Style
Six of the 76 Goats' cheese samples contained a significant amount of sheep's cheese
food + drink
News
i100
News
Russell Brand arriving for the book launch in East London
peopleRussell Brand cancels his book launch debate due to concerns about the make-up of the panel
Arts and Entertainment
JK Rowling will not be releasing a 'romance' novel anytime soon
books
Life and Style
tech

Of all the computers Apple has ever made there’s only one that Steve Jobs had to sell his car to finance

Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Daily Quiz
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

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

Career Services

Day In a Page

How could three tourists have been battered within an inch of their lives by a burglar in a plush London hotel?

A crime that reveals London's dark heart

How could three tourists have been battered within an inch of their lives by a burglar in a plush London hotel?
Meet 'Porridge' and 'Vampire': Chinese state TV is offering advice for citizens picking a Western moniker

Lost in translation: Western monikers

Chinese state TV is offering advice for citizens picking a Western moniker. Simon Usborne, who met a 'Porridge' and a 'Vampire' while in China, can see the problem
Handy hacks that make life easier: New book reveals how to rid your inbox of spam, protect your passwords and amplify your iPhone

Handy hacks that make life easier

New book reveals how to rid your email inbox of spam, protect your passwords and amplify your iPhone with a loo-roll
KidZania lets children try their hands at being a firefighter, doctor or factory worker for the day

KidZania: It's a small world

The new 'educational entertainment experience' in London's Shepherd's Bush will allow children to try out the jobs that are usually undertaken by adults, including firefighter, doctor or factory worker
Renée Zellweger's real crime has been to age in an industry that prizes women's youth over humanity

'Renée Zellweger's real crime was to age'

The actress's altered appearance raised eyebrows at Elle's Women in Hollywood awards on Monday
From Cinderella to The Jungle Book, Disney plans live-action remakes of animated classics

Disney plans live-action remakes of animated classics

From Cinderella to The Jungle Book, Patrick Grafton-Green wonders if they can ever recapture the old magic
Thousands of teenagers to visit battlefields of the First World War in new Government scheme

Pupils to visit First World War battlefields

A new Government scheme aims to bring the the horrors of the conflict to life over the next five years
The 10 best smartphone accessories

Make the most of your mobile: 10 best smartphone accessories

Try these add-ons for everything from secret charging to making sure you never lose your keys again
Mario Balotelli substituted at half-time against Real Madrid: Was this shirt swapping the real reason?

Liverpool v Real Madrid

Mario Balotelli substituted at half-time. Was shirt swapping the real reason?
West Indies tour of India: Hurricane set to sweep Windies into the shadows

Hurricane set to sweep Windies into the shadows

Decision to pull out of India tour leaves the WICB fighting for its existence with an off-field storm building
Indiana serial killer? Man arrested for murdering teenage prostitute confesses to six other murders - and police fear there could be many more

A new American serial killer?

Police fear man arrested for murder of teen prostitute could be responsible for killing spree dating back 20 years
Sweetie, the fake 10-year-old girl designed to catch online predators, claims her first scalp

Sting to trap paedophiles may not carry weight in UK courts

Computer image of ‘Sweetie’ represented entrapment, experts say
Fukushima nuclear crisis: Evacuees still stuck in cramped emergency housing three years on - and may never return home

Return to Fukushima – a land they will never call home again

Evacuees still stuck in cramped emergency housing three years on from nuclear disaster
Wildlife Photographer of the Year: Intimate image of resting lions claims top prize

Wildlife Photographer of the Year

Intimate image of resting lions claims top prize
Online petitions: Sign here to change the world

Want to change the world? Just sign here

The proliferation of online petitions allows us to register our protests at the touch of a button. But do they change anything?