Sebastian Vettel set the pace in the first practice session on Friday morning in New Delhi, setting a fastest lap that was three-tenths faster than Jenson Button in the McLaren. Fernando Alonso was a tenth behind the Engishman, giving Ferrari fans some hope that recent development has made the cars from Maranello rather mnore competitive. Lewis Hamilton was fourth overall, ahead of Mark Webber, Nico Rosberg, Felipe Massa, Michael Schumacher, Daniel Ricciardo and Kimi Raikkonen.
The 11th fastest time went to an impressive Valtteri Bottas, stating his case for a Williams drive in 2013, a long way ahead of Pastor Maldonado, who ended up three-tenths slower and 16th overall. Behind Bottas was Paul di Resta in the Force India, Kamui Kobayashi, Nico Hulkenberg and Romain Grosjean.
Jean-Eric Vergne was 17th ahead of Caterham’s Vitaly Petrov, who was only a couple of tenths faster than the team’s third driver Giedo Van der Garde, Heikki Kovalainen being rested for the session.
Twentieth overall was Esteban Gutierrez, standing in for Sergio Perez, ahead of Charles Pic in the Marussia, Narain Karthikeyan, Timo Glock and Pedro de la Rosa.