Jenson Button, McLaren, Hockenheim, 2012

Button stays on top as rain hits Hockenheim practice

2012 German Grand Prix first practicePosted on | Author Keith Collantine

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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Image ?? McLaren/Hoch Zwei