Webber quickest in first practice
Mark Webber set the fastest time of first practice for the European Grand Prix as drivers struggled with track conditions in Valencia.
Webbers time of 1:40.403 left Vitaly Petov in second, 0.824s slower than the Red Bull. Fernando Alonso was third just 0.008s further back ahead of Lewis Hamilton, Nick Heidfeld and Felipe Massa. Jenson Button was seventh, while championship leader Sebastian Vettel was only 16th as Red Bull spent part of the session running the engine setting that will be required in Silverstone when the off-throttle blown diffuser ban comes in to effect.
Nico Hulkenberg was the first man to fall foul of the dusty track, losing the rear end under braking for turn 12. The front left was pitched in to the wall, with the left rear suspension being broken on impact. Driving Paul di Resta's car, the damage was relatively small but the team will have missed out on a lot of data.
It was a bad morning for the reserve drivers, as Karun Chandhok was in the Lotus again but hadn't even completed a full lap when he lost second gear and had to crawl back to the pits. The problem was a terminal one as his poor luck on Fridays continued.
A dusty track greeted all of the drivers, with dirty tyres returning to the pits after each installation lap. Many waited in their garages for the track to clean up slightly, but cars running wide were a common site once the circuit got busier later in the session.
There were encouraging signs for both Renault and Ferrari, with the latter running a modified suspension as it tried to solve its problems with the harder tyre compounds. Massa likened the new Pirelli medium tyre to the previous specification hard tyre, but was competitive in a session which usually sees Ferrari run high fuel loads.
Timo Glock was fortunate at the end of the session as he lost the rear end of his Virgin exiting turn 4 and had a half spin, managing to keep the car out of the wall on both sides but stalling and ruining and late runs as his car was left in the middle of the track.