Motorsport News - F1
Button fastest in rain hit German first practice
20th July 2012
McLarens Jenson Button made best use of changeable conditions to finish FP1 half a second ahead of team-mate Lewis Hamilton.
Button set his time of 1:16.595 in the first half-hour of running, with the session subsequently interrupted by intermittent showers. The track never got sufficiently wet to impede running and, while most drivers improved their times subsequently, Buttons earlier time was never challenged.
With no 2011 reference for the Pirelli tyres at Hockenheim, and with bad weather forecast for the rest of Friday and worse for Saturday, FP1 was unusually busy, with drivers taking advantage of the mostly dry conditions. When the rain began to fall 25 minutes into the session, many drivers already had a first run completed. At that point Button led Lotuss Romain Grosjean by 1.767s. Sergio Prez was third for Sauber a further second back, ahead of Williams tester Valtteri Bottas, Mercedes Nico Rosberg and Heikki Kovalainen rounding out the top six.
While most drivers returned to the garage to wait out the shower, the Toro Rossos stayed out on slick tyres, suggesting the track wasnt badly affected, and a few minutes later most of the field re-emerged. At the hour mark Fernando Alonso had jumped into second place for Ferrari, followed by Hamilton, Nico Hulkenberg for Force India and Mercedes Michael Schumacher, with Grosjean dropping to sixth.
Another brief shower caused a few cars to slither wide but everyone continued on slicks, with the exception of the Saubers who did a reconnaissance on the Inter. Just before the end of the session Bottas spun off at the Sachs curve. The Williams snapped as it approached the corner and put the Finn into the tyre barriers with minor damage to the rear
It didnt materially affect the session. Buttons time stood but Hamilton moved up into second position, albeit half a second slower than his team mate. Alonso finished third, a further three-tenths back, ahead of Schumacher, Prez and Hulkenberg.
1. Jenson Button McLaren-Mercedes 1m16.595 27 laps
2. Lewis Hamilton McLaren-Mercedes 1m17.093s + 0.498 22
3. Fernando Alonso Ferrari 1m17.370s + 0.775 21
4. Michael Schumacher Mercedes 1m17.382s + 0.787 20
5. Sergio Perez Sauber-Ferrari 1m17.413s + 0.818 28
6. Nico Hulkenberg Force India-Mercedes 1m17.599s + 1.004 17
7. Nico Rosberg Mercedes 1m17.915s + 1.320 27
8. Felipe Massa Ferrari 1m17.995s + 1.400 22
9. Pastor Maldonado Williams-Renault 1m18.020s + 1.425 20
10 Romain Grosjean Lotus-Renault 1m18.130s + 1.535 21
11 Kamui Kobayashi Sauber-Ferrari 1m18.226s + 1.631 22
12 Sebastian Vettel Red Bull-Renault 1m18.339s + 1.744 21
13 Valtteri Bottas Williams-Renault 1m18.422s + 1.827 28
14 Daniel Ricciardo Toro Rosso-Ferrari 1m18.709s + 2.114 30
15 Kimi Raikkonen Lotus-Renault 1m18.831s + 2.236 14
16 Jules Bianchi Force India-Mercedes 1m18.972s + 2.377 21
17 Jean-Eric Vergne Toro Rosso-Ferrari 1m19.039s + 2.444 34
18 Vitaly Petrov Caterham-Renault 1m19.674s + 3.079 24
19 Heikki Kovalainen Caterham-Renault 1m19.963s + 3.368 24
20 Mark Webber Red Bull-Renault 1m20.122s + 3.527 27
21 Charles Pic Marussia-Cosworth 1m20.169s + 3.574 20
22 Timo Glock Marussia-Cosworth 1m20.539s + 3.944 18
23 Pedro de la Rosa HRT-Cosworth 1m21.138s + 4.543 24
24 Dani Clos HRT-Cosworth 1m21.740s + 5.145 27
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