FP1: Button on top after dry-wet session in Hockenheim

  • Published on 20 Jul 2012 12:54
  • comments 0
  • By: Rob Veenstra
McLaren ended Practice One at Hockenheim on Friday morning in an encouraging first and second places, on a track that was at its best early on before rain affected most of the session.

Jenson Button lapped his upgraded MP4-27 in 1m 16.595s, and nobody got near that even when the weather got slightly better in the final 15 minutes. Button said he was pleased with the initial feel of the car with its heavily revised rear bodywork, sidepods and exhaust exits.

It was also good news for the team that Lewis Hamilton was the fastest of the runners who all ran when conditions were similar, lapping in 1m 17.093s to beat Ferrari’s Fernando Alonso and Mercedes’ Michael Schumacher on 1m 17.370s and 1m 17.382s respectively. Both the Spaniard and the German had been talking up their chances prior to the weekend.

Sergio Perez was a strong fifth for Sauber on 1m 17.413s ahead of Nico Hulkenberg on 1m 17.599s for Force India, Nico Rosberg on 1m 17.915s for Mercedes, and Felipe Massa on 1m 17.995s in the second Ferrari.

Pastor Maldonado was ninth for Williams on 1m 18.020s in the first Friday session of the season in which he hasn’t been upstaged by reserve Valtteri Bottas, who was in action in Bruno Senna’s FW34. The young Finn was 13th on 1m 18.422s, after making his sole mistake of the year and spinning backwards into a tyre wall near the end. Maldonado had also been off the road, but without damage.

Romain Grosjean was Lotus’s leading runner in 1m 18.130s as team mate Kimi Raikkonen focused on doing installation laps trying out the team’s new DRS. The Finn was 15th on 1m 18.831s, having only posted proper lap times after the first hour.

Kamui Kobayashi was 11th in the second Sauber on 1m 18.226s ahead of Sebastian Vettel’s Red Bull on 1m 18.339s, Bottas, Daniel Ricciardo on 1m 18.709s for Toro Rosso, Raikkonen, tester Jules Bianchi on 1m 18.972s after taking over the second Force India of Paul di Resta for the session, and Jean-Eric Vergne on 1m 19.039s in the other Toro Rosso.

The Caterhams were in their usual place despite aero testing their new-for-Silverstone package at Lurcy-Levis on Tuesday, with Vitaly Petrov on 1m 19.674s and Heikki Kovalainen on 1m 19.963s.

Mark Webber was 20th on 1m 20.122s in the second Red Bull, ahead of Charles Pic who outshone Timo Glock at Marussia, 1m 20.169s to 1m 20.539s.

At the back, reserve Dani Clos impressed in Narain Karthikeyan’s HRT to lead Pedro de la Rosa for most of the session with 1m 21.740s, before the older Spaniard trimmed down to 1m 21.138s right at the end. (Formula1.com)

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