Quick Button in high spirits while Vettel in high-speed crash

Fortune does not always favour the brave, as Sebastian Vettel learnt to his cost after crashing in the first practice session at Istanbul Park yesterday morning.

Minutes before, Jenson Button had educated attentive girlfriend Jessica Michibata on the niceties of Pirelli's wet weather tyres' wear characteristics – yes, that's how much she loves him! – and said that it was his intention to do the minimum number of laps on the sodden track. Not so Vettel, who was pushing hard when he got the right rear wheel of his Red Bull up the kerb on the 170 mph exit to the notorious triple-apex lefthander Turn Eight, and spun hard into the inside wall. His car was sufficiently badly damaged that he didn't get to run in the afternoon – when Button was fastest.

"There wasn't much I could do to stop the car from hitting the wall this morning," the world champion said sheepishly. "But the most important thing is that I'm fine. Unfortunately we couldn't get the car ready in time for this afternoon's session, as there was too much damage, so I'm sorry to the guys. It makes things a bit more difficult, but I don't think it will be a problem, we know the track well from other years and, in the end, it was only one afternoon that we have lost. I'm still confident – it looks pretty close."

McLaren's softly, softly approach reaped dividends as Lewis Hamilton was third fastest, behind Button and Nico Rosberg's Mercedes, and ahead of Michael's Schumacher's Mercedes and Mark Webber in the other Red Bull. It was, for both McLaren and Mercedes, a promising start against their feared rival whose car has been the fastest in the previous three races.

"I'm pretty happy with how today went," Button said with the cheerful smile of a man who knows he got it right. "The car's been working reasonably well – there are always things you want to improve, but we've made some good progress and have a lot of useful data to go through. Trying to get the car to ride the bumps well into Turn 12 has been difficult, but we improved it through the session. Turn 12 is really bumpy – it's like they put a motocross jump in there!"

Slow-motion cameras captured the bucking bronco ride that both McLaren drivers had to endure, which was much rougher than Webber and the Renault drivers Vitaly Petrov and Nick Heidfeld experienced.

"Turn Eight's quite tough, too," Button continued, "because, depending on your balance, it can damage the front or rear tyres. It's about getting the balance right, which we concentrated on today."

Hamilton said he was happy, too. "I initially struggled a little bit with set-up, which we can look at and fix overnight, but I was really pleased with my long-run pace – I think it was probably one of the best practice long-runs I've ever had.

"Generally, our car has a pretty good baseline. We're still in the fight: the most important factor this weekend is to continue with our consistency – getting on the podium is my target, and if we can win that'll be even better!"

Rosberg and Schumacher were happy too. After losing out to Button by only 0.065s, the younger German said: "I didn't have too many problems with the tyres on the long run and I was quite surprised by the grip levels, which were higher than I expected."

Schumacher spun twice in the morning trying to keep up with his team-mate, and again in the afternoon, but felt he'd had a positive day. "It was especially good that we were able to test both wet and dry tyres. I hadn't really driven the wets so I'm pleased that I finally had some opportunity to use them."

The multiple champion also said he thought the new rules for this year – the DRS rear wing and Pirelli's short-durability tyres – had been hugely beneficial. "I think they are a day and night of a difference, and it is a mega success what we have been seeing – not just in Shanghai but also in the previous races. And that is particularly from a drivers' point of view."

But he could not resist taking a swipe at rival Red Bull, accusing the reigning champion team of failing to observe the spirit of other rules governing workforce head counts.

"We cannot fight for the wins yet, and people don't understand that Mercedes are a small team," he said. "There is an agreement between the teams to limit the number of people and at Mercedes, Ross Brawn observes that. At Red Bull – no. They have too many employees. So now our two teams compete to different rules. Either Mercedes should race to their rules, or else the agreement within the teams should be respected by everyone."

News
The Banksy image in Folkestone before it was vandalised
people
Life and Style
tech

Sales of the tablet are set to fall again, say analysts

Sport
football West Brom vs Man Utd match report: Blind grabs point, but away form a problem for Van Gaal
Arts and Entertainment
Gotham is coming to UK shores this autumn
tvGotham, episode 2, review
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
i100
Arts and Entertainment
Bloom Time: Mira Sorvino
tvMira Sorvino on leaving movie roles for 'The Intruders'
News
First woman: Valentina Tereshkova
peopleNASA guinea pig Kate Greene thinks it might fly
News
Brian Harvey turned up at Downing Street today demanding to speak to the Prime Minister
news

Met Police confirm there was a 'minor disturbance' and that no-one was arrested

Arts and Entertainment
George Lucas poses with a group of Star Wars-inspired Disney characters at Disney's Hollywood Studios in 2010
films

George Lucas criticises the major Hollywood film studios

Voices
Chris Grayling, Justice Secretary: 'There are pressures which we are facing but there is not a crisis'
voices

Does Chris Grayling realise what a vague concept he is dealing with?

Life and Style
A street vendor in Mexico City sells Dorilocos, which are topped with carrot, jimaca, cucumber, peanuts, pork rinds, spices and hot sauce
food + drink

Trend which requires crisps, a fork and a strong stomach is sweeping Mexico's streets

Life and Style
The charity Sands reports that 11 babies are stillborn everyday in the UK
lifeEleven babies are stillborn every day in the UK, yet no one speaks about this silent tragedy
News
Blackpool is expected to become one of the first places to introduce the Government’s controversial new Public Space Protection Orders (PSPOs)
news

Parties threaten resort's image as a family destination

Life and Style
Northern soul mecca the Wigan Casino
fashionGone are the punks, casuals, new romantics, ravers, skaters, crusties. Now all kids look the same
Life and Style
gaming

I Am Bread could actually be a challenging and nuanced title

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

Two super-sized ships have cruised into British waters, but how big can these behemoths get?

Super-sized ships: How big can they get?

Two of the largest vessels in the world cruised into UK waters last week
British doctors on brink of 'cure' for paralysis with spinal cord treatment

British doctors on brink of cure for paralysis

Sufferers can now be offered the possibility of cure thanks to a revolutionary implant of regenerative cells
Ranked seventh in world’s best tourist cities - not London, or Edinburgh, but Salisbury

Salisbury ranked seventh in world’s best tourist cities

The city is home to one of the four surviving copies of the Magna Carta, along with the world’s oldest mechanical clock
Let's talk about loss

We need to talk about loss

Secrecy and silence surround stillbirth
Will there be an all-female mission to Mars?

Will there be an all-female mission to Mars?

Women may be better suited to space travel than men are
Oscar Pistorius sentencing: The athlete's wealth and notoriety have provoked a long overdue debate on South African prisons

'They poured water on, then electrified me...'

If Oscar Pistorius is sent to jail, his experience will not be that of other inmates
James Wharton: The former Guard now fighting discrimination against gay soldiers

The former Guard now fighting discrimination against gay soldiers

Life after the Army has brought new battles for the LGBT activist James Wharton
Ebola in the US: Panic over the virus threatens to infect President Obama's midterms

Panic over Ebola threatens to infect the midterms

Just one person has died, yet November's elections may be affected by what Republicans call 'Obama's Katrina', says Rupert Cornwell
Premier League coaches join the RSC to swap the tricks of their trades

Darling, you were fabulous! But offside...

Premier League coaches are joining the RSC to learn acting skills, and in turn they will teach its actors to play football. Nick Clark finds out why
How to dress with authority: Kirsty Wark and Camila Batmanghelidjh discuss the changing role of fashion in women's workwear

How to dress with authority

Kirsty Wark and Camila Batmanghelidjh discuss the changing role of fashion in women's workwear
New book on Joy Division's Ian Curtis sheds new light on the life of the late singer

New book on Ian Curtis sheds fresh light on the life of the late singer

'Joy Division were making art... Ian was for real' says author Jon Savage
Sean Harris: A rare interview with British acting's secret weapon

Sean Harris: A rare interview with British acting's secret weapon

The Bafta-winner talks Hollywood, being branded a psycho, and how Barbra Streisand is his true inspiration
Tim Minchin, interview: The musician, comedian and world's favourite ginger is on scorching form

Tim Minchin interview

For a no-holds-barred comedian who is scathing about woolly thinking and oppressive religiosity, he is surprisingly gentle in person
Boris Johnson's boozing won't win the puritan vote

Boris's boozing won't win the puritan vote

Many of us Brits still disapprove of conspicuous consumption – it's the way we were raised, says DJ Taylor
Ash frontman Tim Wheeler reveals how he came to terms with his father's dementia

Tim Wheeler: Alzheimer's, memories and my dad

Wheeler's dad suffered from Alzheimer's for three years. When he died, there was only one way the Ash frontman knew how to respond: with a heartfelt solo album