Jenson Button, McLaren, Interlagos, 2012

McLaren remain quickest as Brazil practice ends

2012 Brazilian Grand Prix third practicePosted on | Author Keith Collantine

Jenson Button, McLaren, Interlagos, 2012McLaren were quickest for the third practice session in a row at Interlagos – but this time it was Jenson Button who was ahead.

Button, who switched from using a low-downforce rear wing to the higher-downforce version sported by Lewis Hamilton yesterday, led the session early on when the drivers used the hard tyres.

After switching to medium tyres in the final ten minutes Button went quickest again, his final lap just 0.004s faster than his previous best.

A late effort from Sebastian Vettel saw the Red Bull driver finish just 0.057s shy of Button despite not setting a fastest time in any of the three sectors.

The other Red Bulls and McLarens completed the top four ahead of Romain Grosjean. The Force India pair were next, separated by just over a tenth of a second.

Fernando Alonso could only manage eighth as the Ferrari team mates appeared to practice running in the slipstream of each other at the exit of the final corner. Pastor Maldonado and Felipe Massa also made it into the top ten.

Kimi Raikkonen’s session came to an end as he began his first flying lap. A cloud of smoke appeared behind the Lotus and he quickly pulled to a stop. An engine problem spoiled his run during first practice as well.

Michael Schumacher was the first driver to set a time on the medium compound tyres but had to back off coming out of Juncao when Bruno Senna spun in front of him, the Mercedes narrowly missing the Williams.

Pos. No. Driver Car Best lap Gap Laps
1 3 Jenson Button McLaren-Mercedes 1’13.188 22
2 1 Sebastian Vettel Red Bull-Renault 1’13.245 0.057 21
3 2 Mark Webber Red Bull-Renault 1’13.385 0.197 25
4 4 Lewis Hamilton McLaren-Mercedes 1’13.389 0.201 17
5 10 Romain Grosjean Lotus-Renault 1’13.420 0.232 24
6 11 Paul di Resta Force India-Mercedes 1’13.486 0.298 21
7 12 Nico Hulkenberg Force India-Mercedes 1’13.602 0.414 22
8 5 Fernando Alonso Ferrari 1’13.691 0.503 15
9 18 Pastor Maldonado Williams-Renault 1’13.700 0.512 20
10 6 Felipe Massa Ferrari 1’13.712 0.524 17
11 19 Bruno Senna Williams-Renault 1’13.948 0.760 20
12 8 Nico Rosberg Mercedes 1’14.126 0.938 24
13 15 Sergio Perez Sauber-Ferrari 1’14.190 1.002 26
14 14 Kamui Kobayashi Sauber-Ferrari 1’14.192 1.004 21
15 7 Michael Schumacher Mercedes 1’14.347 1.159 24
16 16 Daniel Ricciardo Toro Rosso-Ferrari 1’14.687 1.499 21
17 17 Jean-Eric Vergne Toro Rosso-Ferrari 1’14.972 1.784 19
18 21 Vitaly Petrov Caterham-Renault 1’15.159 1.971 22
19 20 Heikki Kovalainen Caterham-Renault 1’15.707 2.519 21
20 24 Timo Glock Marussia-Cosworth 1’15.763 2.575 24
21 25 Charles Pic Marussia-Cosworth 1’16.059 2.871 21
22 22 Pedro de la Rosa HRT-Cosworth 1’16.198 3.010 15
23 23 Narain Karthikeyan HRT-Cosworth 1’16.793 3.605 18
24 9 Kimi Raikkonen Lotus-Renault No time 3

Combined practice times

Pos Driver Car FP1 FP2 FP3 Fri/Sat diff Total laps
1 Jenson Button McLaren-Mercedes 1’14.217 1’14.863 1’13.188 -1.029 88
2 Sebastian Vettel Red Bull-Renault 1’14.140 1’14.300 1’13.245 -0.895 96
3 Mark Webber Red Bull-Renault 1’14.198 1’14.523 1’13.385 -0.813 96
4 Lewis Hamilton McLaren-Mercedes 1’14.131 1’14.026 1’13.389 -0.637 90
5 Romain Grosjean Lotus-Renault 1’14.719 1’14.994 1’13.420 -1.299 94
6 Paul di Resta Force India-Mercedes 1’14.738 1’15.129 1’13.486 -1.252 94
7 Nico Hulkenberg Force India-Mercedes 1’15.050 1’15.131 1’13.602 -1.448 94
8 Fernando Alonso Ferrari 1’14.392 1’14.592 1’13.691 -0.701 80
9 Pastor Maldonado Williams-Renault 1’15.015 1’15.953 1’13.700 -1.315 104
10 Felipe Massa Ferrari 1’14.716 1’14.553 1’13.712 -0.841 83
11 Bruno Senna Williams-Renault 1’15.432 1’13.948 -1.484 65
12 Nico Rosberg Mercedes 1’16.315 1’14.669 1’14.126 -0.543 100
13 Sergio Perez Sauber-Ferrari 1’15.396 1’15.542 1’14.190 -1.206 93
14 Kamui Kobayashi Sauber-Ferrari 1’15.255 1’15.839 1’14.192 -1.063 95
15 Michael Schumacher Mercedes 1’15.114 1’14.654 1’14.347 -0.307 96
16 Daniel Ricciardo Toro Rosso-Ferrari 1’15.587 1’15.902 1’14.687 -0.9 95
17 Jean-Eric Vergne Toro Rosso-Ferrari 1’16.048 1’16.048 1’14.972 -1.076 94
18 Vitaly Petrov Caterham-Renault 1’16.617 1’16.126 1’15.159 -0.967 91
19 Kimi Raikkonen Lotus-Renault 1’15.701 1’15.371 58
20 Valtteri Bottas Williams-Renault 1’15.413 23
21 Heikki Kovalainen Caterham-Renault 1’16.655 1’15.707 -0.948 63
22 Timo Glock Marussia-Cosworth 1’16.506 1’17.675 1’15.763 -0.743 97
23 Charles Pic Marussia-Cosworth 1’17.234 1’18.127 1’16.059 -1.175 78
24 Pedro de la Rosa HRT-Cosworth 1’17.678 1’17.244 1’16.198 -1.046 45
25 Giedo van der Garde Caterham-Renault 1’16.460 32
26 Narain Karthikeyan HRT-Cosworth 1’17.895 1’18.139 1’16.793 -1.102 46

2012 Brazilian Grand Prix

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Image ?? McLaren/Hoch Zwei

24 comments on “McLaren remain quickest as Brazil practice ends”

  1. Well that was more tense than most qualifying sessions, really difficult to predict pole now.

    1. I think it’ll be between Button, Vettel and Hamilton

  2. This seems bad for Ferrari. They’re certainly hit by low temperature.

    1. The only consolation for them was Raikkonen having more trouble which may aid them in qualifying. But on these times it looks like they need to think about slipstreaming just to ensure they get into Q3, never mind further up the grid.

      It’s a bit of a weather lottery this weekend. The high heat seen yesterday seemed to help them. Rain should. But in these more normal conditions it appears to be business as usual for them.

      Curious also that Mercedes have slipped back so far since yesterday.

  3. Do the raindance !

  4. I get the impression that Ferrari are sand bagging a little, and are perhaps leaning towards a wet set up for qualifying. Interesting they practiced the towing manouvere several times, but more interestingly with Massa being on the beneficiary end of it.

    This could be the qualifying session of the year, genuinely difficult to call. Expect to see Red Bull, Ferrari and Mclaren in the top 10, but the order is far from clear.

    1. @jamesf1 I don’t agree, and not just because I think the idea of teams “sandbagging” is usually not the case – they’re too busy trying to find out how fast their car can go to disguise how quick it is, particularly now we’re no longer in the days of infinite testing.

      Looking at the comparison times from yesterday, Ferrari have picked up about as much times as Red Bull and McLaren have. The problem for Ferrari is Force India and Lotus – two teams who particularly struggled in the heat yesterday – have found more time in today’s cooler conditions.

      1. That’s true. But this weekend appears to be all about mind games between Red Bull and Ferrari. They’ve each given the other little bits to keep them busy and attempt to rattle their cage.

        Alonso did appear a little dejected after the session ended, so who knows. If anyone will be hoping for rain it’ll be him. All eyes will be on the clouds in the next couple of hours. I cant wait.

        1. @jamesf1 I don’t think he would be hoping for rain. Two reasons for that:
          1. Vettel is a good driver in wet conditions and he would qualify in the top 3 today unless something dramatic happens!
          2. In cooler conditions as aforementioned by @keithcollantine the midfield cars can pose a problem for Ferrari ( we can’t take drivers like Hulk for granted)!
          Let’s hope for a proper race minus natural tendencies and hope the best man win( by the way gunning for Fernando Alonso)!!

    2. they could benefit from being higher up in qualifying as well, not to mention a better position would mean a clear visor during the start of the race, if it rains that time.

      let’s hope this last race is decided by the drivers abilities and not by the so called “luck”

  5. A late effort from Sebastian Vettel saw the Red Bull driver finish just 0.057s shy of Button despite not setting a fastest time in any of the three sectors.

    Good for Seb. I mean, he might not be the first in the sectors but looks consistent in all of them. A couple of tweaks for his car can help him to be first on qualifying.
    In other news, Alonso needs a miracle or a nutcase hittting Vettel.

  6. How on earth could Button find 1 sec from that car that Hamilton couldn’t?

    1. Because Button is no slouch in the car, when he hooks up the car nicely, he can be just as good as Hamilton. Both are quality drivers, who I think will be a force to be reckoned with this weekend. Providing they can both finish of course.

      1. when he hooks up the car nicely

        ain’t that the problem with guys wile Button, Webber, Massa, even schumacher!

        They have shown that they can be fast, can win races and can overtake…..but not at each available opportunity. The time they take to warm up to their best is either too long that they fail to get their setup in time for qualy/race or too late into the race.

        Contrast that with drivers like hamilton, raikkonen, alonso, kubica, even grosjean if he finds some maturity…..they can start the attack from the GO, and that’s what makes them team leaders.

        Macca are going to have two half-boiled eggs for most of 2013…cant fancy them enjoying their omelet!

    2. Because he is great driver?

    3. Did he use a different wing or setup ? Also is it possible to try out wet setup in practice just to check and compare lap times and relatively try to understand how one would fare when it would rain later ?

      1. @hamilfan @hari Button switched from a low-downforce wing to the high-downforce one Hamilton was running on Friday, as on comparison it was deemed to be faster (which was proven today by Button’s increase in pace). Also, it should help switching to the high-downforce wing if it is to rain.

    4. Friday he drove with a low downforce setup, which he later said did not work well. Today he is probably using the same setup as lewis.

      1. Yeah, I heard that in the practice commentary. Today he’s gone for the high downforce set-up, still 1 sec is an impressive improvement.

        1. maybe we have all conveniently underestimated button :P

    5. i think it’s that this track suits JB. The flowing nature of the track might be better for his driving style than the usual tilke-mania.

  7. Why can’t some of you Lewis fans accept that Jenson can match Lewis in terms of speed when his car is right. Lewis is consistantly fast and reckoned to be the fastest driver out there but you have to wonder what the outcome would be if Jenson could be consistant.

    1. @sonia54 I don’t think too many people are arguing it! Plus, consistency is far more important than speed.

  8. why Ferrariis running a low downforce setup in Alonso’s car?…it’s guaranteed 100% that you will lose…why they are doing this…this can work for Monza or spa…but not in this type of circuit…i have being shocked that they since 3 races are doing this in Alonso’s car…and the unbelievable fact is that 3 race in a row AAlonso is slower than Massa with a higher downforce set up and they still continue to run it.
    They are completely wrong…as a Ferrari fan i’m completely disappointed…maybe they are trying desperately something, but now it’s too late to experiment solutions…the facts tell that the high downforce setup is better as the Massa speed tells…but they continue to run in Alonso’s car the wrong set up…unbelievable…unbelievable
    the reason are two:
    1) they are completely lost, and have lost any sense of orientation
    2) Alonso should not win this championship, and ferrari are doing their job…

    I’m sorry for fernando i’m not his fan but i consider him the best driver in the grid that now have a poor support from the team.

    I think it’s over for domenicali, fry, tombazis…they have failed,they have lost the battle for the 4th year in a row.
    It’s time for Ferrari to change people, they have money but they haven’t people that knows how to use these money, Red Bull have them. from 1996 it’s the first time that i’m against the team that i love.
    However the race goes and even if Alonso win with some luck i will not change my opinion, they have lost the battle…it’s time for Montezemolo to take radical decisions.

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