Lewis Hamilton sets pace in Korea Grand Prix practice

Lewis Hamilton set aside all the negativity surrounding his recent displays to post the fastest time in today's practice sessions for the Korean Grand Prix.

Topping the timesheet at the end of a Friday practice session is usually nothing much to write home about, but given his woes in recent times being out in front was at least one small step in the right direction for the McLaren driver.



Hamilton was eager to get into the action during this morning's rain-hit opening session, becoming the first driver to set a timed lap after 50 minutes of inactivity.



The Briton is normally the kind of driver happy to sit and wait until conditions clear, but on this occasion he was perhaps anxious to shake off a few cobwebs in the wake of his latest poor performance in Japan last Sunday.



Come the second 90-minute session, a mini-duel unfolded between Hamilton and team-mate Jenson Button as they traded fastest laps in slightly better conditions, although still far from easy.



At least the teams were able to use the intermediate tyres, leading to times 12 seconds faster than in FP1, when Mercedes' Michael Schumacher was quickest.



Hamilton and Button had no equals in FP2, though, the former setting a time of one minute 50.828secs - 15 seconds off last year's pole time - and Button just 0.104secs adrift.



The rest, spearheaded by Red Bull's new double champion Sebastian Vettel, were nowhere, but then given the weather all teams would simply have been focusing on getting the correct set up ahead of what is anticipated to be a drier weekend.



Vettel finished the afternoon session 1.8secs down, followed closely by Ferrari's Fernando Alonso and Red Bull team-mate Mark Webber.



Toro Rosso's Jaime Alguersuari was sixth, despite being hit by the Mercedes of Nico Rosberg at the circuit's notoriously difficult pit exit.



Emerging from the pit lane, which curves round onto the outside of turn one, Alguersuari had nowhere to go as Rosberg turned into him as he completed a flying lap. The front wing on the German's car broke off and lodged underneath his front-right tyre, acting like a ski and ultimately forcing him to pull over.



Alguersuari eventually finished 2.5secs adrift of Hamilton, with Rosberg two places and half a second further back in eighth.



Paul di Resta was 10th for Force India, with the rear brought up by Hispania Racing duo Daniel Ricciardo and Vitantonio Liuzzi, both just over nine seconds down.



PA

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