Button stays on top as rain hits Hockenheim practice

2012 German Grand Prix first practice

Jenson Button, McLaren, Hockenheim, 2012Jenson Button was one of the first drivers to set a competitive time in first practice. He remained on top until the end of the session as intermittent rain kept the drivers guessing throughout the 90 minutes of running.

As McLaren tested an extensive upgrade including new sidepods, Button put in a 1’16.595 to go quickest early on. That remained the top time until the end of the session as three separate showers fell during practice.

The tricky conditions caught out several drivers, particularly at turn 12 where the likes of Heikki Kovalainen, Mark Webber and Dani Clos skirted disaster.

Jean-Eric Vergne has a huge moment at turn one, the Toro Rosso driver amazingly catching a car which seemed certain to break away from him completely.

When the rain stopped in the final minutes most of the drivers returned to the track to run until the chequered flag. Times began to fall as the track improved and Lewis Hamilton came closest to beating his team mate.

Button’s time might have been beaten had Williams test driver Valtteri Bottas not crashed at the hairpin in the Motodrom section with a few minutes remaining in the session, bringing out the yellow flags.

Despite the rain, teams persevered with some significant upgrades. There was considerable interest in the new air intakes on Kimi Raikkonen’s Lotus, which spent most of the session doing single runs without setting a time. His best lap was set while Bottas’s car was being recovered.

Kamui Kobayashi also had an array of sensors behind his left-rear wheel and was doing fixed-speed runs.

Early in the session McLaren appeared to be running a pair of rear-facing lights on their car to examine their latest update.

Pos. No. Driver Car Best lap Gap Laps
1 3 Jenson Button McLaren-Mercedes 1’16.595 27
2 4 Lewis Hamilton McLaren-Mercedes 1’17.093 0.498 22
3 5 Fernando Alonso Ferrari 1’17.370 0.775 21
4 7 Michael Schumacher Mercedes 1’17.382 0.787 20
5 15 Sergio Perez Sauber-Ferrari 1’17.413 0.818 28
6 12 Nico Hulkenberg Force India-Mercedes 1’17.599 1.004 17
7 8 Nico Rosberg Mercedes 1’17.915 1.320 27
8 6 Felipe Massa Ferrari 1’17.995 1.400 22
9 18 Pastor Maldonado Williams-Renault 1’18.020 1.425 20
10 10 Romain Grosjean Lotus-Renault 1’18.130 1.535 21
11 14 Kamui Kobayashi Sauber-Ferrari 1’18.226 1.631 22
12 1 Sebastian Vettel Red Bull-Renault 1’18.339 1.744 21
13 19 Valtteri Bottas Williams-Renault 1’18.422 1.827 28
14 16 Daniel Ricciardo Toro Rosso-Ferrari 1’18.709 2.114 30
15 9 Kimi Raikkonen Lotus-Renault 1’18.831 2.236 14
16 11 Jules Bianchi Force India-Mercedes 1’18.972 2.377 21
17 17 Jean-Eric Vergne Toro Rosso-Ferrari 1’19.039 2.444 34
18 21 Vitaly Petrov Caterham-Renault 1’19.674 3.079 24
19 20 Heikki Kovalainen Caterham-Renault 1’19.963 3.368 24
20 2 Mark Webber Red Bull-Renault 1’20.122 3.527 27
21 25 Charles Pic Marussia-Cosworth 1’20.169 3.574 20
22 24 Timo Glock Marussia-Cosworth 1’20.539 3.944 18
23 22 Pedro de la Rosa HRT-Cosworth 1’21.138 4.543 24
24 23 Dani Clos HRT-Cosworth 1’21.740 5.145 27

2012 German Grand Prix

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29 comments on Button stays on top as rain hits Hockenheim practice

  1. BasCB (@bascb) said on 20th July 2012, 10:51

    I think McLaren will be satisfied that they got a couple of good laps in when it was still dry. And so far its looks as if the parts are working, at least not being a disaster.
    Nice to see everyone testing a lot of new bits on track so they can get them finalized before the summer break

  2. Prisoner Monkeys (@prisoner-monkeys) said on 20th July 2012, 10:52

    I know McLaren have brought an aerodynamic upgrade package for Hockenheim, but the first thing I noticed was that the Lucozade sponsorship has been replaced by a Maximuscle decal, another of GSK’s brands. Which is interesting given that rumours of Coca-Cola sponsoring McLaren were debunked over the presence of Lucozade on the car.

    • MazdaChris (@mazdachris) said on 20th July 2012, 11:58

      Done because GSK have just released Maximuscle in Germany. Makes sense really for them to use the space to promote something relevant. Also suggests that GSK may be prepared to increase their sponsorship involvement if Vodafone really do pull the plug. The Coca-Cola thing was just wishful thinking by fans.

      • BasCB (@bascb) said on 20th July 2012, 12:17

        I understood the Coca Cola thing was hitched up several times by Bernie’s pet website, so I guess it was a lot to do with either talking up the worth of F1, which fits too with recent publications from same source about how many of the worlds’ top brands are in F1 (or were, as they included both Toyota and BMW!) or its about fishing for interest from US sponsors towards the complete series and esp. the US races that are coming.

        • Prisoner Monkeys (@prisoner-monkeys) said on 20th July 2012, 12:37

          I understood the Coca Cola thing was hitched up several times by Bernie’s pet website, so I guess it was a lot to do with either talking up the worth of F1

          Just because a story – any story, and not just this one – is posted on Bernie’s favourite website, that doesn’t mean that it came from Bernie to fulfil a political agenda.

          • BasCB (@bascb) said on 20th July 2012, 12:56

            Sure @prisoner-monkeys, but given the fact that there are hardly any details on any such deal and many reliable sources who have clear indications that no such deal is even being talked about on the cola thing points to another background then good journalism for them.

      • Keith Collantine (@keithcollantine) said on 20th July 2012, 12:31

        The Coca-Cola thing was just wishful thinking by fans.

        It looked more like spurious reporting to me.

  3. Knightmare (@knightmare) said on 20th July 2012, 11:06

    Has Button found the sweet spot?? Fingers crossed !

  4. Oblong_Cheese (@oblong_cheese) said on 20th July 2012, 11:10

    As long as Vettel isn’t taking points away from Mark, I will be happy with the outcome of this weekend. ;-)

  5. AndrewTanner (@andrewtanner) said on 20th July 2012, 11:21

    Pretty much expected that from McLaren but the rain has skewed it a little bit. Let’s see what the afternoon brings.

    Looking forward to pics of the E20!

  6. maxthecat said on 20th July 2012, 11:25

    Can’t read anything into this, Buttons lap was set early before the rain, no one really pushed for the entire session either.

    By the way, SKYSPORTS F1 is free to all sky/virgin customers this weekend.

  7. eskopeso said on 20th July 2012, 11:26

    @keithcollantine, should that have “driver” in there “…the Toro Rosso amazingly…”?

    Shame for Bottas, but gladly he didn’t give the engineers too much work, and I guess it’s an inevitable learning experience when you start pushing too eagerly.

  8. Eggry (@eggry) said on 20th July 2012, 13:25

    No more rain!!

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