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Hamilton tops opening Singapore F1 practice

- Associated Press - Friday, September 23, 2011

SINGAPORE (AP) - McLaren driver Lewis Hamilton set the fastest time in opening practice Friday for the Formula One Singapore Grand Prix.

Hamilton was four-tenths of a second faster than championship leader Sebastian Vettel around the Marina Bay circuit.

Vettel's teammate Mark Webber was third-fastest despite losing his front wing in a collision with Timo Glock. Ferrari pair Fernando Alonso and Felipe Massa were fourth and sixth, respectively, with McLaren's Jenson Button between them in fifth.

Force India pair Adrian Sutil and Paul di Resta were seventh and ninth, while Mercedes teammates Michael Schumacher and Nico Rosberg were eighth and tenth.

The session was delayed for half an hour _ and reduced to only an hour rather than the scheduled 90 minutes _ by loose curbing.

The problem recurred late in the session when a bolt in the curbing came loose, prompting hasty repairs and a red flag. The loose bolt became apparent shortly after Massa ran over a curb.

Lotus driver Heikki Kovalainen's session ended early because of a gearbox problem. Upon parking, his front brakes overheated because of a lack of airflow, causing a minor fire.

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