Schumacher leads first Monza practice for Mercedes

2012 Italian Grand Prix first practice

Michael Schumacher, Mercedes, Monza, 2012Amid intense speculation about whether Lewis Hamilton might be about to join Mercedes, Michael Schumacher put the team on top of the times in the first practice session at Monza.

Schumacher comfortably eclipsed the fastest times of the session with a best of 1’25.422. Jenson Button came closest with a 1’25.723, while Nico Rosberg completed a Mercedes-powered top three.

Behind them were the two Ferraris of Fernando Alonso and Felipe Massa, followed by Hamilton.

Kimi Raikkonen began his session bouncing across the kerbs at turn one. He improved to set the seventh-fastest time for Lotus, but ended the session after an even more spectacular trip across the kerbs, flying into the air at the Roggia chicane.

New team mate Jerome D’Ambrosio, substituting for the banned Romain Grosjean, was 15th fastest.

Two drivers stopped with apparent technical problems at the end of the session: Alonso pulling over at the first chicane and Pastor Maldonado doing the same on the approach to Lesmo 1. The Williams driver inspected the rear of his car, its DRS still open, as he left the scene.

Chinese driver Ma Qing Hua made his first F1 appearance in the session for HRT. He propped up the times sheets with a 1’31.239, 1.9s slower than team mate Pedro de la Rosa.

Pos. No. Driver Car Best lap Gap Laps
1 7 Michael Schumacher Mercedes 1’25.422
2 3 Jenson Button McLaren-Mercedes 1’25.723 0.301
3 8 Nico Rosberg Mercedes 1’25.762 0.340
4 5 Fernando Alonso Ferrari 1’25.800 0.378
5 6 Felipe Massa Ferrari 1’25.881 0.459
6 4 Lewis Hamilton McLaren-Mercedes 1’25.944 0.522
7 9 Kimi Raikkonen Lotus-Renault 1’26.046 0.624
8 15 Sergio Perez Sauber-Ferrari 1’26.323 0.901
9 2 Mark Webber Red Bull-Renault 1’26.390 0.968
10 18 Pastor Maldonado Williams-Renault 1’26.504 1.082
11 1 Sebastian Vettel Red Bull-Renault 1’26.508 1.086
12 12 Nico Hulkenberg Force India-Mercedes 1’26.518 1.096
13 19 Valtteri Bottas Williams-Renault 1’26.641 1.219
14 14 Kamui Kobayashi Sauber-Ferrari 1’26.746 1.324
15 10 Jerome D’Ambrosio Lotus-Renault 1’27.180 1.758
16 11 Jules Bianchi Force India-Mercedes 1’27.192 1.770
17 16 Daniel Ricciardo Toro Rosso-Ferrari 1’27.373 1.951
18 17 Jean-Eric Vergne Toro Rosso-Ferrari 1’27.789 2.367
19 20 Heikki Kovalainen Caterham-Renault 1’27.855 2.433
20 21 Vitaly Petrov Caterham-Renault 1’28.578 3.156
21 25 Charles Pic Marussia-Cosworth 1’28.751 3.329
22 24 Timo Glock Marussia-Cosworth 1’29.207 3.785
23 22 Pedro de la Rosa HRT-Cosworth 1’29.331 3.909
24 23 Ma Qing Hua HRT-Cosworth 1’31.239 5.817

2012 Italian Grand Prix

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46 comments on Schumacher leads first Monza practice for Mercedes

  1. Eggry (@eggry) said on 7th September 2012, 10:42

    The result…It seems like the performance order of engines.

  2. Ma Qing Hua didn’t look so terrible, to be honest. Slow but not as dramatic as Karthikeyan either.

    Those Mercs look mighty fast at the moment. We’ll see how that pans out until quali. And it looks as though Button is on a roll.

    If D’Ambrosio and the Saubers up their pace to get into contention for the top ten at least, it should make for a VERY interesting weekend.

  3. Tifoso1989 (@tifoso1989) said on 7th September 2012, 10:50

    Are the retirements of both Pastor & Alonso will be considered as “FORCE MAJEURE” ??

    • Eggry (@eggry) said on 7th September 2012, 11:05

      Why should it be?

    • Oli Campbell said on 7th September 2012, 11:09

      what does that mean?

    • @tifoso1989

      31.7 Any driver taking part in any practice session who, in the opinion of the stewards, stops unnecessarily on the circuit or unnecessarily impedes another driver shall be subject to the penalties referred to in Article 31.6.

      31.6 In the event of a driving infringement during any practice session the Stewards may drop the driver such number of grid positions as they consider appropriate.

      It is not mandatory for the stewarts to even investigate, nor handing out a penatly, even if they do, their decision is not subject to appeal.

      Force majeure means something like unavoidable accident and teams sometimes referring to it when they break the rules. Last time in Spain Hamilton stopped the car on track in a Qualifying PRACTISE session, and the team wanted to use the term force majeure, but the stewards didnt gave in, so Hamilton had to start the race from the back of the grid.

      • Prisoner Monkeys (@prisoner-monkeys) said on 7th September 2012, 11:31

        @tifoso1989 – I didn’t see anything to suggest either stoppage was unnecessary. Maldonado’s DRS flap was wide open when he pulled the car over, so he clearly had a problem. And I see no reason why Ferrari would risk a grid penalty for force majeure at their home race. It would be a national scandal if they did.

      • Oli Campbell said on 7th September 2012, 11:33

        Cheers :-)
        On a side note, I hope D’Ambrosio does well. Would be interesting if he out qualified Kimi :-0 ….

    • 3furious said on 7th September 2012, 11:32

      Article says they stopped “with apparent technical problems” so it is Force Majeure and they won’t get penalized.

    • They won’t get penalised. Another grid drop for Maldonado would have been absolutely hilarious though…

    • xeroxpt (@) said on 7th September 2012, 15:44

      interesting question.

  4. AndrewTanner (@andrewtanner) said on 7th September 2012, 11:22

    Good to see Ma Qing Hua managing to set a time and a respectable one at that. Hopefully we’ll get to see him again so we can keep an eye on him.

    • Prisoner Monkeys (@prisoner-monkeys) said on 7th September 2012, 11:25

      Yeah, I was expecting him to be slow, but I wasn’t expecting him to be within two seconds of de la Rosa. And his last lap was looking pretty good, too.

    • Nick.UK (@) said on 7th September 2012, 11:26

      I thought it was interesting what Anthony Davidson said in Practice about ‘How long will it be before we have a full Chinese F1 team in the paddock’ Whatever form a Chinese team may take, it would be sure to have limitless resources. Might be quite interesting if a new team came a long that did well… after all, Red Bull certainly up-ended the McLaren/Ferrari days of the 2000’s!

      • That money might be useless if the FIA force some kind of resource restriction by rules.

      • Prisoner Monkeys (@prisoner-monkeys) said on 7th September 2012, 11:46

        I thought it was interesting what Anthony Davidson said in Practice about ‘How long will it be before we have a full Chinese F1 team in the paddock’

        I think it is inevitable that a Chinese team will join Formula 1 at some point – or, at the very least, we will see a Chinese-owned team competing under a Chinese racing licence. And I suspect that Ma’s involvement in HRT might be the first step towards that eventuality. The team has already indicated a willingness to change their name and identity in the quest to find new investors, which makes sense given that “HRT” stands for “Hispania Racing Team”, which is derived from Groupo Hispania, who in turn have no more involvement in the running of the team. Ma was plucked from relative obscurity to join HRT’s “driver development programme”, which was seemingly created so that Ma could join the team. And when they ran at Silverstone in the first round of the Young Driver Tests, they elected not to participate on the second day, which suggests that they were only there so that Ma could get his superlicence.

      • Brakius (@brakius) said on 7th September 2012, 12:20

        Never amounted to anything for Toyota did it? Endless resources mean nothing without the proper personnel.

        • Nick.UK (@) said on 7th September 2012, 12:33


          A 2nd place in Singapore is nothing to sweep under the rug! The problem Toyota had WAS resources, that is why they pulled out. It was the same with Honda. The teams didnt have the financial backing from the manufacturers to continue. At least that was my understanding of the sitiation.

          • George (@george) said on 7th September 2012, 15:18

            Yes, but before the financial crash they were spending more than anyone else, and had very little to say for it. Getting to the front is first about personnel, then about resources.

          • PieLighter (@pielighter) said on 7th September 2012, 17:17

            @george Indeed, Brawn GP springs to mind. They may have had the car designed throughout 2008 but they scraped through 2009, Button using only one chassis from the shakedown in Silverstone to the flag in Abu Dhabi, and won both championships.

      • AndrewTanner (@andrewtanner) said on 7th September 2012, 21:37

        @nick-uk @prisoner-monkeys Something tells me that if they did enter the international motorsport stage with F1 they wouldn’t do things by halves. Look at their Olympic and Paralympic campaign. I’m not saying they would have instant success but I expect that if it was government back in some way that they would most definitely recruit some top names and eventually some success to go with it.

    • John H (@john-h) said on 7th September 2012, 11:37

      Yes, he was inside the 107% time by two tenths I think.

    • like to see him getting a full seat in F1 next year maybe replacing Narain

  5. Hadzhiev (@hadzhiev) said on 7th September 2012, 11:49


  6. Prisoner Monkeys (@prisoner-monkeys) said on 7th September 2012, 11:50

    Amid intense speculation about whether Lewis Hamilton might be about to join Mercedes, Michael Schumacher put the team on top of the times in the first practice session at Monza.

    It just got even more itneresting, because during FP1, Autosport ran this story, where Ross Brawn talks up the benefits of joining a works in team (or before 2014). He doesn’t specifically mention Hamilton, but he was clearly asked about the possibility of Hamilton moving to Brackley …

    • verstappen (@verstappen) said on 7th September 2012, 12:28

      Maybe there wasn’t much going on at first, but now everybody (Hamilton, Brawn, Mercedes, XIX, Nicole, Bernie) sees the benefits of having him there and I think it’s becoming more and more realistic.

      I’ve said it in another comment, but I think Mercedes should go for the two biggest (as in recognition) names of current F1: Schumacher and Hamilton. For the brand Mercedes the association with those two strong names is more important than Rosbergs talent.

      When Schumi leaves they can go for Multi-Champ Vettel. Who by that time might be triple champ, so also becoming a household name.

      And for Hamilton? As at says (is implied) in the article: he could be better of at Mercedes than at Mclaren.

      • Prisoner Monkeys (@prisoner-monkeys) said on 7th September 2012, 13:18

        @verstappen – I think the smarter move might be to try and get Schumacher’s name on the side of the car as a team owner. Ross Brawn has certainly indicated that a team management role is a distinct possibility for Schumacher if he re-retires. That way, they could have Hamilton in one seat, and try to push for someone like Vettel in the other, and all of it under Schumacher’s name. Even if they can’t have Vettel right away, Rosberg is a strong driver (even if he is a little sensitive to the car’s performance – when the car is good, Rosberg is blindingly quick; when it’s bad, he languishes at the bottom of the midfield).

        I could – and indeed, would probably welcome – Hamiton and Rosberg competing for “MSC Mercedes” in 2013.

  7. SchumiVr0000m said on 7th September 2012, 12:11

    Ive read Norbert Haug said today that as long as seats are free there will be rumors. I guess he more or less said with that, Schumi will not be with Mercedes in 2013. Because this whole driver shuffling only can happen if Schumi is leaving. Rosberg should be save. And because Lewis will never be with Alonso in one team, Lotus and Red Bull are set for next year, this can only mean Mercedes for Lewis (if he wants to be in a car that has potential). That would give Schumi the choice, Ferrari (Massa should be gone after this year), McLaren or retirement. I hope its not the latter.

  8. Todd (@braketurnaccelerate) said on 7th September 2012, 12:40

    Nice to see the Renaults struggling for speed….


  9. I was so happy to see Schumi start in first for the race. I really hope that next season Mercedes makes their car more competitive so we can see more out of him.

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