German Grand Prix: Free Practice 1 & 2
Weather Returns as Button and Maldonado Lead the Way in Practice
McLaren’s Jenson Button and Williams’ Pastor Maldonado set fastest times in Free Practice 1 & 2 respectively as rain hit the first day of action at the Hockenheimring.
The rain arrived during the first practice session, with Button managing to set the fastest time in the best conditions, with team-mate Lewis Hamilton in second, 0.498 seconds behind.
This is a promising sign for McLaren, who have added upgrades to the car following a poor start to their 2012 campaign. The package includes modified sidepods and exhaust, along with aerodynamic and mechanical modifications.
Lotus were also testing significant modifications during practice, as they trialled their own version of the ‘double DRS’ system used by Mercedes since the opening round of the season.
The team are still undecided whether the system will be raced, but if it is will only be on Kimi Raikkonen’s car, as there isn’t time to install the system on Romain Grosjean’s as well.
Only three drivers were caught out by the weather conditions throughout the two sessions, with Williams reserve driver Valtteri Bottas being the first casualty as he lost the rear of the car entering the stadium section at Turn 13.
Toro Rosso’s Daniel Ricciardo followed Bottas’ lead during the afternoon session as he slid into the gravel, avoiding damage to the car, at Turn 13 again.
Finally, Michael Schumacher lost the rear of his Mercedes at Turn 12, hitting a puddle and spinning across the track before finally resting in the barriers in front of, embarrassingly, the Mercedes grandstand.
All drivers were OK, and when asked for the cause of the accident, Schumacher said “I was not fully concentrated. I was on the radio and I was doing some other changes to the car and touched the white line.”
FP1 – Top 10
- Jenson Button – McLaren Mercedes 1:16.595
- Lewis Hamilton – McLaren Mercedes + 0.498
- Fernando Alonso – Ferrari + 0.775
- Michael Schumacher – Mercedes + 0.787
- Sergio Perez – Sauber-Ferrari + 0.818
- Nico Hulkenberg – Force India-Mercedes +1.004
- Nico Rosberg – Mercedes +1.320
- Felipe Massa – Ferrari +1.400
- Pastor Maldonado – Williams-Renault +1.425
- Romain Grosjean – Lotus-Renault +1.535
FP2 – Top 10
- Pastor Maldonado – Williams-Renault 1:27.476
- Nico Rosberg – Mercedes +0.088
- Sebastien Vettel – Red Bull-Renault +0.426
- Sergio Perez – Sauber-Ferrari +0.926
- Romain Grosjean – Lotus-Renault +0.944
- Nico Hulkenberg – Force India-Mercedes +1.019
- Daniel Ricciardo – Toro Rosso-Ferrari +1.037
- Jenson Button – McLaren-Mercedes +1.040
- Mark Webber – Red Bull-Renault +1.401
Kimi Raikkonen – Lotus-Renault +1.851