Schumacher leads first Monza practice for Mercedes

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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Alonso quickest in dry final practice session

Fernando Alonso put Ferrari on top as Spa finally saw dry running in the final practice session. The Ferrari driver set a best lap of 1’48.542.

With much of yesterday’s running disrupted by heavy rain, the teams were eager to make the most of the final hour of dry practice. Within moment of the session beginning the track was busy, several drivers going straight onto runs without doing installation laps.

Bruno Senna led the running early on, followed by the two Marussia drivers as most of the team concentrated on high fuel runs. Mercedes suffered a setback when Nico Rosberg pulled over at Rivage with a technical problem.

The Ferrari drivers came to the fore, Alonso leading the way with a 1’50.690. The F2012s were usually the quickest cars through the speed traps.

Sergio Perez briefly appeared at the top of the times but it was the Red Bull drivers who were quickest as the final ten minutes of the session began. Mark Webber set a 1’49.164, Sebastian Vettel just over a tenth of a second slower.

As the final runs began on the softer medium tyres it was Perez who returned to the top, setting a 1’48.850, with team mate Kamui Kobayashi just 0.013s slower.

But Alonso comfortably beat Perez’s mark by over three tenths of a second. Kimi Raikkonen, who had complained about the balance of his Lotus earlier in the session, was second on a 1’48.683.

The improvements pushed Mark Webber down to seventh place and Sebastrian Vettel ninth.

The McLaren drivers were outside the top ten as the final runs began. Jenson Button moved up to fifth place but was over half a second off Alonso’s best, while Lewis Hamilton could only manage 12th.

Pos. No. Driver Car Best lap Gap Laps
1 5 Fernando Alonso Ferrari 1’48.542 18
2 9 Kimi Raikkonen Lotus-Renault 1’48.683 0.141 21
3 15 Sergio Perez Sauber-Ferrari 1’48.850 0.308 23
4 14 Kamui Kobayashi Sauber-Ferrari 1’48.863 0.321 20
5 3 Jenson Button McLaren-Mercedes 1’49.091 0.549 18
6 6 Felipe Massa Ferrari 1’49.092 0.550 16
7 2 Mark Webber Red Bull-Renault 1’49.164 0.622 21
8 10 Romain Grosjean Lotus-Renault 1’49.266 0.724 23
9 1 Sebastian Vettel Red Bull-Renault 1’49.292 0.750 23
10 11 Paul di Resta Force India-Mercedes 1’49.382 0.840 22
11 18 Pastor Maldonado Williams-Renault 1’49.561 1.019 23
12 4 Lewis Hamilton McLaren-Mercedes 1’49.615 1.073 19
13 7 Michael Schumacher Mercedes 1’49.621 1.079 26
14 12 Nico Hulkenberg Force India-Mercedes 1’49.674 1.132 23
15 17 Jean-Eric Vergne Toro Rosso-Ferrari 1’49.710 1.168 21
16 16 Daniel Ricciardo Toro Rosso-Ferrari 1’49.776 1.234 22
17 19 Bruno Senna Williams-Renault 1’50.027 1.485 20
18 20 Heikki Kovalainen Caterham-Renault 1’52.339 3.797 21
19 25 Charles Pic Marussia-Cosworth 1’52.566 4.024 20
20 24 Timo Glock Marussia-Cosworth 1’52.630 4.088 18
21 21 Vitaly Petrov Caterham-Renault 1’52.809 4.267 22
22 22 Pedro de la Rosa HRT-Cosworth 1’53.383 4.841 22
23 23 Narain Karthikeyan HRT-Cosworth 1’53.562 5.020 23
24 8 Nico Rosberg Mercedes 1’58.113 9.571 5

Combined practice times

Pos Driver Car FP1 FP2 FP3 Fri/Sat diff Total laps
1 Fernando Alonso Ferrari 2’40.749 2’50.497 1’48.542 -52.207 25
2 Kimi Raikkonen Lotus-Renault 2’46.580 1’48.683 -57.897 30
3 Sergio Perez Sauber-Ferrari 2’13.861 3’12.901 1’48.850 -25.011 43
4 Kamui Kobayashi Sauber-Ferrari 2’11.389 2’53.232 1’48.863 -22.526 44
5 Jenson Button McLaren-Mercedes 2’16.861 1’49.091 -27.77 28
6 Felipe Massa Ferrari 1’49.092 20
7 Mark Webber Red Bull-Renault 2’13.191 1’49.164 -24.027 34
8 Romain Grosjean Lotus-Renault 2’38.701 1’49.266 -49.435 32
9 Sebastian Vettel Red Bull-Renault 2’14.860 1’49.292 -25.568 38
10 Paul di Resta Force India-Mercedes 2’15.812 2’51.333 1’49.382 -26.43 36
11 Pastor Maldonado Williams-Renault 2’11.941 2’51.660 1’49.561 -22.38 41
12 Lewis Hamilton McLaren-Mercedes 2’16.827 1’49.615 -27.212 26
13 Michael Schumacher Mercedes 2’15.402 1’49.621 -25.781 43
14 Nico Hulkenberg Force India-Mercedes 2’16.786 2’59.125 1’49.674 -27.112 38
15 Jean-Eric Vergne Toro Rosso-Ferrari 2’12.824 2’58.232 1’49.710 -23.114 39
16 Daniel Ricciardo Toro Rosso-Ferrari 2’12.004 2’49.750 1’49.776 -22.228 37
17 Bruno Senna Williams-Renault 1’50.027 23
18 Heikki Kovalainen Caterham-Renault 2’18.199 1’52.339 -25.86 32
19 Charles Pic Marussia-Cosworth 2’17.519 2’49.354 1’52.566 -24.953 38
20 Timo Glock Marussia-Cosworth 2’16.409 2’52.076 1’52.630 -23.779 38
21 Vitaly Petrov Caterham-Renault 2’16.788 1’52.809 -23.979 38
22 Pedro de la Rosa HRT-Cosworth 2’19.546 1’53.383 -26.163 34
23 Narain Karthikeyan HRT-Cosworth 1’53.562 23
24 Nico Rosberg Mercedes 2’14.210 1’58.113 -16.097 22
25 Valtteri Bottas Williams-Renault 2’14.660 16
26 Dani Clos HRT-Cosworth 2’19.689 12

2012 Belgian Grand Prix

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Little running in very wet second session

Sebastian Vettel, Red Bull, Spa-Francorchamps, 2012The first practice session was wet and saw little running – but the second was wetter and saw even less action.

Rain fell constantly from the beginning of practice and not a single driver ventured out of the pits in the first half of the 90-minute session.

Finally, with 41 minutes remaining on the clock, Nico Rosberg tentatively emerged from the pits, completing three laps in order to do practice starts.

Team mate Michael Schumacher did the same shortly afterwards. Heikki Kovalainen joined them but returned to the pits after spinning at Les Combes.

As the rain continued to fall other drivers appeared on-track briefly, including the McLaren pair and Sebastian Vettel.

A further group of drivers appeared on the track at the end of the session to do practice starts, setting the first and only times of the session.

Pos. No. Driver Car Best lap Gap Laps
1 25 Charles Pic Marussia-Cosworth 2’49.354 4
2 16 Daniel Ricciardo Toro Rosso-Ferrari 2’49.750 0.396 3
3 5 Fernando Alonso Ferrari 2’50.497 1.143 3
4 11 Paul di Resta Force India-Mercedes 2’51.333 1.979 3
5 18 Pastor Maldonado Williams-Renault 2’51.660 2.306 4
6 24 Timo Glock Marussia-Cosworth 2’52.076 2.722 4
7 14 Kamui Kobayashi Sauber-Ferrari 2’53.232 3.878 4
8 17 Jean-Eric Vergne Toro Rosso-Ferrari 2’58.232 8.878 3
9 12 Nico Hulkenberg Force India-Mercedes 2’59.125 9.771 5
10 15 Sergio Perez Sauber-Ferrari 3’12.901 23.547 4
11 8 Nico Rosberg Mercedes 3
12 7 Michael Schumacher Mercedes 4
13 20 Heikki Kovalainen Caterham-Renault 1
14 4 Lewis Hamilton McLaren-Mercedes 2
15 1 Sebastian Vettel Red Bull-Renault 3
16 3 Jenson Button McLaren-Mercedes 2
17 6 Felipe Massa Ferrari 2
18 19 Bruno Senna Williams-Renault 3
19 2 Mark Webber Red Bull-Renault 0
20 9 Kimi Raikkonen Lotus-Renault 0
21 10 Romain Grosjean Lotus-Renault 0
22 21 Vitaly Petrov Caterham-Renault 0
23 22 Pedro de la Rosa HRT-Cosworth 0
24 23 Narain Karthikeyan HRT-Cosworth 0

2012 Belgian Grand Prix

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Kobayashi heads wet first practice session at Spa

Kamui Kobayashi, Sauber, Spa-Francorchamps, 2012Kamui Kobayashi was the quickest driver in a very wet first practice session at Spa-Francorchamps.

After a five-week break the weather ensured the fans at Spa had to wait a little longer to see much F1 action. Rain fell steadily at the beginning of the session, discouraging most drivers from doing anything more than installation laps.

The one exception was Kamui Kobayashi, the only driver to set a time in the first half of the session, setting a best time of 2’17.705.

It wasn’t until the second half of the session that the rain eased and drivers began taking to the circuit. The Toro Rosso pair came out first and were joined by Kobayashi.

Daniel Ricciardo and Pastor Maldonado improved on Kobayashi’s best time, but the Sauber driver took the top spot back with a best time of 2’11.389.

Towards the end of the session the rain returned before several drivers had gone out in the best of the conditions. But all the drivers were on-track for the final moments in order to do practice starts.

Michael Schumacher, Paul di Resta and Pastor Maldonado all had brushes with disaster at Eau Rouge as the track conditions deteriorated – Schumacher in particular having a sudden twitch as he touched the kerb on the way into the corner.

In the final moments of the session Felipe Massa pulled over at the Bus Stop chicane with more than just water spray coming from the back of his Ferrari. “I’ve lost my engine – the engine is broken,” he told his team.

Pos. No. Driver Car Best lap Gap Laps
1 14 Kamui Kobayashi Sauber-Ferrari 2’11.389 20
2 18 Pastor Maldonado Williams-Renault 2’11.941 0.552 14
3 16 Daniel Ricciardo Toro Rosso-Ferrari 2’12.004 0.615 12
4 17 Jean-Eric Vergne Toro Rosso-Ferrari 2’12.824 1.435 15
5 2 Mark Webber Red Bull-Renault 2’13.191 1.802 13
6 15 Sergio Perez Sauber-Ferrari 2’13.861 2.472 16
7 8 Nico Rosberg Mercedes 2’14.210 2.821 14
8 19 Valtteri Bottas Williams-Renault 2’14.660 3.271 16
9 1 Sebastian Vettel Red Bull-Renault 2’14.860 3.471 12
10 7 Michael Schumacher Mercedes 2’15.402 4.013 13
11 11 Paul di Resta Force India-Mercedes 2’15.812 4.423 11
12 24 Timo Glock Marussia-Cosworth 2’16.409 5.020 16
13 12 Nico Hulkenberg Force India-Mercedes 2’16.786 5.397 10
14 21 Vitaly Petrov Caterham-Renault 2’16.788 5.399 16
15 4 Lewis Hamilton McLaren-Mercedes 2’16.827 5.438 5
16 3 Jenson Button McLaren-Mercedes 2’16.861 5.472 8
17 25 Charles Pic Marussia-Cosworth 2’17.519 6.130 14
18 20 Heikki Kovalainen Caterham-Renault 2’18.199 6.810 10
19 22 Pedro de la Rosa HRT-Cosworth 2’19.546 8.157 12
20 23 Dani Clos HRT-Cosworth 2’19.689 8.300 12
21 10 Romain Grosjean Lotus-Renault 2’38.701 27.312 9
22 5 Fernando Alonso Ferrari 2’40.749 29.360 4
23 9 Kimi Raikkonen Lotus-Renault 2’46.580 35.191 9
24 6 Felipe Massa Ferrari No time 2

2012 Belgian Grand Prix

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Webber edges Hamilton in final practice

Mark Webber, Red Bull, Hungaroring, 2012Mark Webber headed the times in the final practice session for the Hungarian Grand Prix.

The Red Bull driver set the quickest time of the weekend so far, covering a lap of the Hungaroring in 1’21.550.

Kimi Raikkonen set the pace to begin with on medium tyres with a 1’22.718. That was beaten by Lewis Hamilton, the McLaren driver taking a couple of laps to string together a series of fastest sectors.

Once he did the McLaren was flying, Hamilton eventually lowering his best to a 1’21.706.

Meanwhile Red Bull were making an early start on assessing the soft tyres. Sebastian Vettel’s first lap on them was just 0.035s faster than Hamilton’s on mediums.

Vettel improved his middle sector time on his second effort but wasn’t able to lower his lap time. Team mate Mark Webber was, however, setting a 1’21.550 to go fastest.

That stood as the fastest time of the session as Hamilton was unable to beat it after he switched to soft tyres. A 1’21.643 left him less than a tenth of a second off.

Team mate Jenson Button couldn’t get much out of the soft tyres either – he ended the session tenth, 0.683s off the pace.

Bruno Senna repeated his strong performance from yesterday and was fourth with a lap of 1’21.876.

The Ferrari drivers stayed in the pits for the first 20 minutes of the session. Once they emerged, Fernando Alonso went fifth quickest with a lap of 1’21.884.

Pos. No. Driver Car Best lap Gap Laps
1 2 Mark Webber Red Bull-Renault 1’21.550 27
2 4 Lewis Hamilton McLaren-Mercedes 1’21.643 0.093 17
3 1 Sebastian Vettel Red Bull-Renault 1’21.671 0.121 29
4 19 Bruno Senna Williams-Renault 1’21.876 0.326 22
5 5 Fernando Alonso Ferrari 1’21.884 0.334 13
6 9 Kimi Raikkonen Lotus-Renault 1’21.953 0.403 20
7 10 Romain Grosjean Lotus-Renault 1’22.110 0.560 24
8 6 Felipe Massa Ferrari 1’22.136 0.586 15
9 11 Paul di Resta Force India-Mercedes 1’22.191 0.641 20
10 3 Jenson Button McLaren-Mercedes 1’22.233 0.683 24
11 18 Pastor Maldonado Williams-Renault 1’22.381 0.831 21
12 14 Kamui Kobayashi Sauber-Ferrari 1’22.387 0.837 20
13 17 Jean-Eric Vergne Toro Rosso-Ferrari 1’22.492 0.942 26
14 12 Nico Hulkenberg Force India-Mercedes 1’22.530 0.980 25
15 15 Sergio Perez Sauber-Ferrari 1’22.597 1.047 23
16 16 Daniel Ricciardo Toro Rosso-Ferrari 1’22.716 1.166 24
17 7 Michael Schumacher Mercedes 1’22.868 1.318 30
18 8 Nico Rosberg Mercedes 1’22.931 1.381 30
19 20 Heikki Kovalainen Caterham-Renault 1’24.036 2.486 20
20 21 Vitaly Petrov Caterham-Renault 1’24.547 2.997 18
21 25 Charles Pic Marussia-Cosworth 1’25.224 3.674 22
22 24 Timo Glock Marussia-Cosworth 1’25.497 3.947 21
23 22 Pedro de la Rosa HRT-Cosworth 1’26.785 5.235 20
24 23 Narain Karthikeyan HRT-Cosworth 1’26.898 5.348 26

Combined practice times

Pos Driver Car FP1 FP2 FP3 Fri/Sat diff Total laps
1 Mark Webber Red Bull-Renault 1’24.546 1’23.814 1’21.550 -2.264 68
2 Lewis Hamilton McLaren-Mercedes 1’22.821 1’21.995 1’21.643 -0.352 67
3 Sebastian Vettel Red Bull-Renault 1’24.608 1’22.824 1’21.671 -1.153 72
4 Bruno Senna Williams-Renault 1’22.253 1’21.876 -0.377 56
5 Fernando Alonso Ferrari 1’23.397 1’22.582 1’21.884 -0.698 59
6 Kimi Raikkonen Lotus-Renault 1’23.983 1’22.180 1’21.953 -0.227 64
7 Romain Grosjean Lotus-Renault 1’23.633 1’22.922 1’22.110 -0.812 60
8 Felipe Massa Ferrari 1’23.904 1’22.417 1’22.136 -0.281 69
9 Paul di Resta Force India-Mercedes 1’24.559 1’22.794 1’22.191 -0.603 65
10 Jenson Button McLaren-Mercedes 1’22.922 1’22.747 1’22.233 -0.514 65
11 Pastor Maldonado Williams-Renault 1’24.300 1’23.337 1’22.381 -0.956 70
12 Kamui Kobayashi Sauber-Ferrari 1’24.394 1’23.841 1’22.387 -1.454 67
13 Jean-Eric Vergne Toro Rosso-Ferrari 1’25.559 1’24.328 1’22.492 -1.836 78
14 Nico Hulkenberg Force India-Mercedes 1’23.713 1’22.530 -1.183 51
15 Sergio Perez Sauber-Ferrari 1’24.268 1’24.623 1’22.597 -1.671 73
16 Daniel Ricciardo Toro Rosso-Ferrari 1’25.354 1’24.345 1’22.716 -1.629 77
17 Michael Schumacher Mercedes 1’23.845 1’23.160 1’22.868 -0.292 75
18 Nico Rosberg Mercedes 1’23.628 1’23.164 1’22.931 -0.233 88
19 Heikki Kovalainen Caterham-Renault 1’26.755 1’25.220 1’24.036 -1.184 78
20 Valtteri Bottas Williams-Renault 1’24.152 24
21 Vitaly Petrov Caterham-Renault 1’26.440 1’24.823 1’24.547 -0.276 75
22 Charles Pic Marussia-Cosworth 1’26.705 1’27.185 1’25.224 -1.481 69
23 Timo Glock Marussia-Cosworth 1’27.015 1’27.104 1’25.497 -1.518 73
24 Jules Bianchi Force India-Mercedes 1’25.715 26
25 Pedro de la Rosa HRT-Cosworth 1’27.101 1’27.106 1’26.785 -0.316 60
26 Narain Karthikeyan HRT-Cosworth 1’27.822 1’26.898 -0.924 46
27 Dani Clos HRT-Cosworth 1’28.176 24

2012 Hungarian Grand Prix

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Hamilton stays on top as rain hits Hungaroring

Lewis Hamilton, McLaren, Hungaroring, 2012For the second year in a row Lewis Hamilton was quickest in both Friday practice sessions at the Hungaroring.

He was the only driver to lap the circuit in less than 1’22s before rain prevented any further improvements during the session.

Early in the session Romain Grosjean lost control of his car at the exit of turn seven. He glanced the barrier nose-first, damaging the front of his Lotus, though his mechanics were able to get him back out on track again shortly.

The Ferrari drivers led the times early on but as the weather forecast warned of approaching rain the teams began to think about doing their soft-tyre runs early.

Inevitably traffic became a problem. Hamilton was on his way to improving his time when he caught Charles Pic in the final sector and oversteered wide at turn 13.

Meanwhile Kimi Raikkonen set a 1’22.180, beating Fernando Alonso’s fastest time by four-tenths of a second.

Hamilton, however, continued to find more time on his soft tyres. He moved up to second then lowered his best by half a second, posting a 1’21.995 to top the times.

Bruno Senna moved up to third in the Williams, less than half a second off Hamilton’s time.

But now the rain began to fall, sending drivers back into the pits. Heikki Kovalainen was the first to fall foul of it, skidding across the gravel trap at turn seven.

Once it stopped a handful of drivers returned to the track and found a circuit that was much wetter in some parts than others.

The track was especially wet as turn 12 as Michael Schumacher discovered. He locked his front wheels and speared head-first into the barrier, fortunately not at too high a speed. He damaged the front of his W03 but climbed out unhurt.

The track dried over the rest of the session and some drivers returned to the track in the hope conditions would improve before the chequered flag. But with the first half of the track almost dry and the second half still wet, most elected to return to the pits and none were able to post an improvement.

Pos. No. Driver Car Best lap Gap Laps
1 4 Lewis Hamilton McLaren-Mercedes 1’21.995 20
2 9 Kimi Raikkonen Lotus-Renault 1’22.180 0.185 20
3 19 Bruno Senna Williams-Renault 1’22.253 0.258 34
4 6 Felipe Massa Ferrari 1’22.417 0.422 29
5 5 Fernando Alonso Ferrari 1’22.582 0.587 22
6 3 Jenson Button McLaren-Mercedes 1’22.747 0.752 17
7 11 Paul di Resta Force India-Mercedes 1’22.794 0.799 23
8 1 Sebastian Vettel Red Bull-Renault 1’22.824 0.829 18
9 10 Romain Grosjean Lotus-Renault 1’22.922 0.927 12
10 7 Michael Schumacher Mercedes 1’23.160 1.165 19
11 8 Nico Rosberg Mercedes 1’23.164 1.169 29
12 18 Pastor Maldonado Williams-Renault 1’23.337 1.342 26
13 12 Nico Hulkenberg Force India-Mercedes 1’23.713 1.718 26
14 2 Mark Webber Red Bull-Renault 1’23.814 1.819 17
15 14 Kamui Kobayashi Sauber-Ferrari 1’23.841 1.846 28
16 17 Jean-Eric Vergne Toro Rosso-Ferrari 1’24.328 2.333 25
17 16 Daniel Ricciardo Toro Rosso-Ferrari 1’24.345 2.350 28
18 15 Sergio Perez Sauber-Ferrari 1’24.623 2.628 23
19 21 Vitaly Petrov Caterham-Renault 1’24.823 2.828 30
20 20 Heikki Kovalainen Caterham-Renault 1’25.220 3.225 30
21 24 Timo Glock Marussia-Cosworth 1’27.104 5.109 28
22 22 Pedro de la Rosa HRT-Cosworth 1’27.106 5.111 19
23 25 Charles Pic Marussia-Cosworth 1’27.185 5.190 24
24 23 Narain Karthikeyan HRT-Cosworth 1’27.822 5.827 20

2012 Hungarian Grand Prix

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McLaren lead opening practice session in Hungary

Jenson Button, McLaren, Hungaroring, 2012The McLaren drivers topped the times in the first practice session at the Hungaroring.

Lewis Hamilton ended the first 90 minutes of running one tenth of a second faster than team mate Jenson Button.

Hamilton was half a second quicker than Fernando Alonso. Ferrari began the session conducting a series of aerodynamic tests on Felipe Massa’s car, evaluating different front wings on the car.

Kimi Raikkonen led the times initially but was called back to the pits as he began to suffer overheating problems with his engine.

He later returned to the track to continue testing Lotus’s new DRS set-up. Towards the end of the session he was told the wing was working as planned. He set the eighth-fastest time with team mate Romain Grosjean taking fifth with his final lap.

Grosjean split the two Mercedes with Nico Rosberg in fourth place.

Williams test driver Valtteri Bottas was ninth-fastest ahead of Sergio Perez. His team mate Pastor Maldonado contributed one of the few dramatic moments of the session, ploughing into the gravel at turn ten.

Warm weather greeted the teams in first practice, with track temperatures starting at 33C and rising towards the end of the session.

Pos. No. Driver Car Best lap Gap Laps
1 4 Lewis Hamilton McLaren-Mercedes 1’22.821 30
2 3 Jenson Button McLaren-Mercedes 1’22.922 0.101 24
3 5 Fernando Alonso Ferrari 1’23.397 0.576 24
4 8 Nico Rosberg Mercedes 1’23.628 0.807 29
5 10 Romain Grosjean Lotus-Renault 1’23.633 0.812 24
6 7 Michael Schumacher Mercedes 1’23.845 1.024 26
7 6 Felipe Massa Ferrari 1’23.904 1.083 25
8 9 Kimi Raikkonen Lotus-Renault 1’23.983 1.162 24
9 19 Valtteri Bottas Williams-Renault 1’24.152 1.331 24
10 15 Sergio Perez Sauber-Ferrari 1’24.268 1.447 27
11 18 Pastor Maldonado Williams-Renault 1’24.300 1.479 23
12 14 Kamui Kobayashi Sauber-Ferrari 1’24.394 1.573 19
13 2 Mark Webber Red Bull-Renault 1’24.546 1.725 24
14 11 Paul di Resta Force India-Mercedes 1’24.559 1.738 22
15 1 Sebastian Vettel Red Bull-Renault 1’24.608 1.787 25
16 16 Daniel Ricciardo Toro Rosso-Ferrari 1’25.354 2.533 25
17 17 Jean-Eric Vergne Toro Rosso-Ferrari 1’25.559 2.738 27
18 12 Jules Bianchi Force India-Mercedes 1’25.715 2.894 26
19 21 Vitaly Petrov Caterham-Renault 1’26.440 3.619 27
20 25 Charles Pic Marussia-Cosworth 1’26.705 3.884 23
21 20 Heikki Kovalainen Caterham-Renault 1’26.755 3.934 28
22 24 Timo Glock Marussia-Cosworth 1’27.015 4.194 24
23 22 Pedro de la Rosa HRT-Cosworth 1’27.101 4.280 21
24 23 Dani Clos HRT-Cosworth 1’28.176 5.355 24

2012 Hungarian Grand Prix

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Alonso quickest at Hockenheim as rain returns

Fernando Alonso, Ferrari, Hockenheim, 2012Fernando Alonso made the most of a mainly dry final practice session to head the times before the rain returned.

Following yesterday’s wet running the drivers were eager to make the most of dry conditions at the start of practice. By the end of the first half-hour most drivers had already logged more than ten laps.

Nico Rosberg led the way initially, reeling off a sequence of rapid laps in his Mercedes. Felipe Massa came close to beating his time before encountering traffic.

Some drivers preferred to use the soft tyres earlier in the session, such as Bruno Senna and Mark Webber, who took turns at the top of the times.

Shortly afterwards their team mates Pastor Maldonado and Sebastian Vettel traded fastest times, Vettel ending up 0.012s to the good with a 1’16.652.

Alonso beat that with a 1’16.124 on soft tyres but a few minutes later Lewis Hamilton was fractionally faster on the mediums – beating Alonso’s time by just 0.033s. Alonso returned to the track on soft tyres later and reclaimed the top spot by 0.077s.

The drivers explored the limits of the Hockenheimring’s run-offs, particularly at turn one where driver after driver ran wide onto the tarmac apron. Romain Grosjean was warned to stop going off at the corner only to run wide there once again.

Massa was also among the many drivers to run wide and he had an especially rough ride when he understeered off at turn 12, bouncing over gravel and grass.

Michael Schumacher and Jenson Button were among those who had not set quick times earlier in the session. They left the pits in the final ten minutes but now the rain returned with a vengeance. Schumacher was able to improve his time but Button slid wide at turn eight and ended up slowest of all.

The drivers returned to the pits as the rain hardened into a downpour and the clock ticked down the final minutes.

Pos. No. Driver Car Best lap Gap Laps
1 5 Fernando Alonso Ferrari 1’16.014 14
2 4 Lewis Hamilton McLaren-Mercedes 1’16.091 0.077 21
3 15 Sergio Perez Sauber-Ferrari 1’16.202 0.188 21
4 9 Kimi Raikkonen Lotus-Renault 1’16.238 0.224 27
5 2 Mark Webber Red Bull-Renault 1’16.447 0.433 19
6 1 Sebastian Vettel Red Bull-Renault 1’16.475 0.461 18
7 18 Pastor Maldonado Williams-Renault 1’16.664 0.650 18
8 6 Felipe Massa Ferrari 1’16.771 0.757 15
9 14 Kamui Kobayashi Sauber-Ferrari 1’16.807 0.793 25
10 19 Bruno Senna Williams-Renault 1’16.930 0.916 23
11 10 Romain Grosjean Lotus-Renault 1’16.962 0.948 26
12 12 Nico Hulkenberg Force India-Mercedes 1’17.033 1.019 26
13 11 Paul di Resta Force India-Mercedes 1’17.148 1.134 24
14 16 Daniel Ricciardo Toro Rosso-Ferrari 1’17.238 1.224 26
15 7 Michael Schumacher Mercedes 1’17.266 1.252 22
16 17 Jean-Eric Vergne Toro Rosso-Ferrari 1’17.419 1.405 23
17 8 Nico Rosberg Mercedes 1’17.491 1.477 26
18 20 Heikki Kovalainen Caterham-Renault 1’18.366 2.352 21
19 21 Vitaly Petrov Caterham-Renault 1’18.818 2.804 23
20 22 Pedro de la Rosa HRT-Cosworth 1’19.778 3.764 22
21 24 Timo Glock Marussia-Cosworth 1’20.235 4.221 22
22 25 Charles Pic Marussia-Cosworth 1’20.318 4.304 9
23 23 Narain Karthikeyan HRT-Cosworth 1’20.741 4.727 22
24 3 Jenson Button McLaren-Mercedes 1’20.914 4.900 25

Combined German Grand Prix practice times

Pos Driver Car FP1 FP2 FP3 Fri/Sat diff Total laps
1 Fernando Alonso Ferrari 1’17.370 1’31.207 1’16.014 -1.356 55
2 Lewis Hamilton McLaren-Mercedes 1’17.093 1’30.617 1’16.091 -1.002 59
3 Sergio Perez Sauber-Ferrari 1’17.413 1’28.402 1’16.202 -1.211 75
4 Kimi Raikkonen Lotus-Renault 1’18.831 1’29.327 1’16.238 -2.593 63
5 Mark Webber Red Bull-Renault 1’20.122 1’28.877 1’16.447 -3.675 67
6 Sebastian Vettel Red Bull-Renault 1’18.339 1’27.902 1’16.475 -1.864 63
7 Jenson Button McLaren-Mercedes 1’16.595 1’28.516 1’20.914 +4.319 68
8 Pastor Maldonado Williams-Renault 1’18.020 1’27.476 1’16.664 -1.356 52
9 Felipe Massa Ferrari 1’17.995 1’29.719 1’16.771 -1.224 52
10 Kamui Kobayashi Sauber-Ferrari 1’18.226 1’29.785 1’16.807 -1.419 71
11 Bruno Senna Williams-Renault 1’30.291 1’16.930 -13.361 45
12 Romain Grosjean Lotus-Renault 1’18.130 1’28.420 1’16.962 -1.168 67
13 Nico Hulkenberg Force India-Mercedes 1’17.599 1’28.495 1’17.033 -0.566 65
14 Paul di Resta Force India-Mercedes 1’30.437 1’17.148 -13.289 38
15 Daniel Ricciardo Toro Rosso-Ferrari 1’18.709 1’28.513 1’17.238 -1.471 79
16 Michael Schumacher Mercedes 1’17.382 1’32.777 1’17.266 -0.116 60
17 Jean-Eric Vergne Toro Rosso-Ferrari 1’19.039 1’29.364 1’17.419 -1.62 83
18 Nico Rosberg Mercedes 1’17.915 1’27.564 1’17.491 -0.424 77
19 Heikki Kovalainen Caterham-Renault 1’19.963 1’30.331 1’18.366 -1.597 71
20 Valtteri Bottas Williams-Renault 1’18.422 28
21 Vitaly Petrov Caterham-Renault 1’19.674 1’32.241 1’18.818 -0.856 69
22 Jules Bianchi Force India-Mercedes 1’18.972 21
23 Pedro de la Rosa HRT-Cosworth 1’21.138 1’42.566 1’19.778 -1.36 54
24 Charles Pic Marussia-Cosworth 1’20.169 1’30.090 1’20.318 +0.149 48
25 Timo Glock Marussia-Cosworth 1’20.539 1’30.220 1’20.235 -0.304 56
26 Narain Karthikeyan HRT-Cosworth 1’32.349 1’20.741 -11.608 39
27 Dani Clos HRT-Cosworth 1’21.740 27

2012 German Grand Prix

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Maldonado on top as Schumacher crashes in the rain

Pastor Maldonado, Williams, Hockenheim, 2012The rain remained at the Hockenheimring in the second hour-and-a-half of practice and this time it was even heavier.

Only Bruno Senna ventured out in the first quarter of an hour to check over his repaired car following Valtteri Bottas’s crash at the end of first practice.

As the rain eased and began to stop the cars filtered out onto the track, led by Jean-Eric Vergne who ran wide at turn eight on the soaked track as he set his first lap.

The track quickly filled up with the Ferrari and McLaren drivers among the last to join in. As the surface water began to lift the lap times fell quickly. The Ferrari pair were consistently among the quickest with Romain Grosjean regularly taking over at the top of the times as well.

The track passed the crossover point to intermediate tyres and drivers were beginning to consider slicks when the rain returned. At the same time race control were advising drivers they could use DRS again, fresh rain sent the cars back to the pits and DRS was swiftly deactivated again.

Pastor Maldonado had just set the fastest time before the conditions worsened, ahead of home drivers Nico Rosberg and Sebastian Vettel.

A few drivers returns to the track for the final minutes of practice but two of them hit trouble. Daniel Ricciardo understeered off at the turn 13 hairpin in the Motodrom and came to a stop in the gravel trap without hitting anything.

But Michael Schumacher was not so fortunate when he lost control of his Mercedes one corner earlier. The W03 sustained front and rear damage as he bounced off the barriers. The session was red-flagged with four minutes remaining and not restarted.

Pos. No. Driver Car Best lap Gap Laps
1 18 Pastor Maldonado Williams-Renault 1’27.476 14
2 8 Nico Rosberg Mercedes 1’27.564 0.088 24
3 1 Sebastian Vettel Red Bull-Renault 1’27.902 0.426 24
4 15 Sergio Perez Sauber-Ferrari 1’28.402 0.926 26
5 10 Romain Grosjean Lotus-Renault 1’28.420 0.944 20
6 12 Nico Hulkenberg Force India-Mercedes 1’28.495 1.019 22
7 16 Daniel Ricciardo Toro Rosso-Ferrari 1’28.513 1.037 23
8 3 Jenson Button McLaren-Mercedes 1’28.516 1.040 16
9 2 Mark Webber Red Bull-Renault 1’28.877 1.401 21
10 9 Kimi Raikkonen Lotus-Renault 1’29.327 1.851 22
11 17 Jean-Eric Vergne Toro Rosso-Ferrari 1’29.364 1.888 26
12 6 Felipe Massa Ferrari 1’29.719 2.243 15
13 14 Kamui Kobayashi Sauber-Ferrari 1’29.785 2.309 24
14 25 Charles Pic Marussia-Cosworth 1’30.090 2.614 19
15 24 Timo Glock Marussia-Cosworth 1’30.220 2.744 16
16 19 Bruno Senna Williams-Renault 1’30.291 2.815 22
17 20 Heikki Kovalainen Caterham-Renault 1’30.331 2.855 26
18 11 Paul di Resta Force India-Mercedes 1’30.437 2.961 14
19 4 Lewis Hamilton McLaren-Mercedes 1’30.617 3.141 16
20 5 Fernando Alonso Ferrari 1’31.207 3.731 20
21 21 Vitaly Petrov Caterham-Renault 1’32.241 4.765 22
22 23 Narain Karthikeyan HRT-Cosworth 1’32.349 4.873 17
23 7 Michael Schumacher Mercedes 1’32.777 5.301 18
24 22 Pedro de la Rosa HRT-Cosworth 1’42.566 15.090 8

2012 German Grand Prix

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Button stays on top as rain hits Hockenheim 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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Alonso quickest in dry final practice session

After two sodden practice sessions on Friday the weather gave the teams some respite on Saturday morning. The final hour of practice began on a dry track, and a string of drivers queued up in a hurry to be first out on track.

Making the most of the conditions, several drivers didn’t return to the pits after installation laps, pressing on with a busy schedule. First to set the pace was Michael Schumacher.

His team warned him about a patch of moisture on the entry to Chapel curve which caught out several drivers. Both Sauber drivers ran wide on it and Paul di Resta went off backwards after spinning on the wet patch.

The session was briefly stopped when Charles Pic’s Marussia rolled to a halt at the exit of Copse, his MR01 having lost fuel pressure. He returned to the pits and was able to rejoin the session – only for his car to stop again at Stow with sixc minutes to go. This time he was recovered without a red flag.

There was more than half an hour to go when the session restarted and once again the track quickly got busy.

The McLaren pair traded fastest times, Lewis Hamilton taking over from Jenson Button, before Romain Grosjean pegged back the pair of them.

But it was Fernando Alonso who set the fastest time of the session with a 1’32.167. Hamilton matched him over the first two sectors but was three-tenths slower in the final part of he lap.

Kamui Kobayashi briefly looked capable of challenging Alonso before spinning his Sauber at the end of the lap. Moments earlier team mate Seriog Perez had gone off, ripping the front wing off his Sauber.

Alonso looked capable of improving on his time until he spun at the final corner. He was able to recover the Ferrar without damaging the car as his did yesterday.

Four cars filled the gap between the him and Hamilton, the first of which was Button who got within 0.153s off Alonso’s time on seven-lap-old hard tyres. A late effort from Sebastian Vettel aftersome suspension changes put him fourth, sandwiched by the Lotuses.

But as the cars returned to the pits drivers were being warned of light rain falling at Stowe. The weather forecast indicates the dreaded rain will return for qualifying.

Pos. No. Driver Car Best lap Gap Laps
1 5 Fernando Alonso Ferrari 1’32.167 21
2 3 Jenson Button McLaren-Mercedes 1’32.320 0.153 20
3 10 Romain Grosjean Lotus-Renault 1’32.358 0.191 25
4 1 Sebastian Vettel Red Bull-Renault 1’32.420 0.253 21
5 9 Kimi Raikkonen Lotus-Renault 1’32.454 0.287 25
6 4 Lewis Hamilton McLaren-Mercedes 1’32.477 0.310 20
7 18 Pastor Maldonado Williams-Renault 1’32.622 0.455 21
8 15 Sergio Perez Sauber-Ferrari 1’32.940 0.773 19
9 14 Kamui Kobayashi Sauber-Ferrari 1’33.046 0.879 20
10 12 Nico Hulkenberg Force India-Mercedes 1’33.150 0.983 19
11 19 Bruno Senna Williams-Renault 1’33.267 1.100 25
12 11 Paul di Resta Force India-Mercedes 1’33.367 1.200 20
13 2 Mark Webber Red Bull-Renault 1’33.398 1.231 24
14 7 Michael Schumacher Mercedes 1’33.462 1.295 24
15 17 Jean-Eric Vergne Toro Rosso-Ferrari 1’33.673 1.506 22
16 6 Felipe Massa Ferrari 1’33.674 1.507 21
17 16 Daniel Ricciardo Toro Rosso-Ferrari 1’33.707 1.540 21
18 8 Nico Rosberg Mercedes 1’33.733 1.566 15
19 20 Heikki Kovalainen Caterham-Renault 1’34.298 2.131 18
20 21 Vitaly Petrov Caterham-Renault 1’34.781 2.614 20
21 24 Timo Glock Marussia-Cosworth 1’36.605 4.438 18
22 25 Charles Pic Marussia-Cosworth 1’37.060 4.893 14
23 23 Narain Karthikeyan HRT-Cosworth 1’37.269 5.102 23
24 22 Pedro de la Rosa HRT-Cosworth 1’37.429 5.262 17

Combined practice times

Pos Driver Car FP1 FP2 FP3 Fri/Sat diff Total laps
1 Fernando Alonso Ferrari 1’59.015 1’32.167 -26.848 39
2 Jenson Button McLaren-Mercedes 2’01.834 1’57.948 1’32.320 -25.628 35
3 Romain Grosjean Lotus-Renault 1’56.552 1’32.358 -24.194 39
4 Sebastian Vettel Red Bull-Renault 1’59.414 1’59.476 1’32.420 -26.994 42
5 Kimi Raikkonen Lotus-Renault 2’00.253 1’58.897 1’32.454 -26.443 42
6 Lewis Hamilton McLaren-Mercedes 1’57.174 1’56.345 1’32.477 -23.868 34
7 Pastor Maldonado Williams-Renault 2’00.125 1’59.472 1’32.622 -26.85 32
8 Sergio Perez Sauber-Ferrari 1’57.664 1’57.493 1’32.940 -24.553 43
9 Kamui Kobayashi Sauber-Ferrari 1’58.483 1’56.474 1’33.046 -23.428 55
10 Nico Hulkenberg Force India-Mercedes 1’58.943 1’33.150 -25.793 31
11 Bruno Senna Williams-Renault 2’01.099 1’33.267 -27.832 31
12 Paul di Resta Force India-Mercedes 1’59.429 1’33.367 -26.062 30
13 Mark Webber Red Bull-Renault 1’58.463 1’33.398 -25.065 32
14 Michael Schumacher Mercedes 1’58.493 1’56.545 1’33.462 -23.083 46
15 Jean-Eric Vergne Toro Rosso-Ferrari 1’59.076 1’59.854 1’33.673 -25.403 41
16 Felipe Massa Ferrari 1’58.119 2’00.565 1’33.674 -24.445 35
17 Daniel Ricciardo Toro Rosso-Ferrari 1’56.827 1’33.707 -23.12 33
18 Nico Rosberg Mercedes 1’58.942 1’56.567 1’33.733 -22.834 32
19 Heikki Kovalainen Caterham-Renault 1’59.787 1’58.580 1’34.298 -24.282 38
20 Vitaly Petrov Caterham-Renault 1’59.614 2’01.348 1’34.781 -24.833 41
21 Timo Glock Marussia-Cosworth 2’01.835 2’00.820 1’36.605 -24.215 35
22 Charles Pic Marussia-Cosworth 2’11.760 2’03.719 1’37.060 -26.659 28
23 Narain Karthikeyan HRT-Cosworth 2’04.774 1’37.269 -27.505 31
24 Pedro de la Rosa HRT-Cosworth 2’04.341 1’37.429 -26.912 26
25 Valtteri Bottas Williams-Renault 1’59.733 7

2012 British Grand Prix

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Hamilton heads another wet practice session at Silverstone

Lewis Hamilton, McLaren, Silverstone, 2012The weather worsened for the second practice session and for almost all of the first hour hardly anyone ventured out on track at all.

Bruno Senna and Timo Glock were the first to set times but both quickly returned to the garage saying there was no point in running as the track continued to get wetter.

It wasn’t until there was less than 40 minutes left that the rain finally stopped and drivers began taking to the track. Kamui Kobayashi was the first and gradually other followed him.

But the session was stopped shortly afterwards as Senna crashed at Chapel. The Williams driver lost control of his car coming onto the Hangar straight and damager both ends of the FW32 against the barrier.

Once the session was resumed the track got busier again, with Kobayashi again leading the way. But Lewis Hamilton – who had gone for a stroll up the pit lane with an umbrella during the worst of the rain – took over at the top of the times with a 1’56.345.

Several of the other front-runners only appeared on intermediate tyres, not wanting to use up their limited allocation of wet-weather tyres. They included Sebastian Vettel, who was so slow he held up Timo Glock and was overtaken by the Marussia.

Fernando Alonso also went out on intermediate tyres and set a time good enough for tenth. But he spun at Stowe on his final lap and clipped the barrier, taking off his front wing.

The session ended with Hamilton on top ahead of the busy Kobayashi. Romain Grosjean and Daniel Ricciardo – the fastest two drivers from the first session – opted not to set times.

Pos. No. Driver Car Best lap Gap Laps
1 4 Lewis Hamilton McLaren-Mercedes 1’56.345 8
2 14 Kamui Kobayashi Sauber-Ferrari 1’56.474 0.129 16
3 7 Michael Schumacher Mercedes 1’56.545 0.200 12
4 8 Nico Rosberg Mercedes 1’56.567 0.222 9
5 15 Sergio Perez Sauber-Ferrari 1’57.493 1.148 13
6 3 Jenson Button McLaren-Mercedes 1’57.948 1.603 9
7 20 Heikki Kovalainen Caterham-Renault 1’58.580 2.235 10
8 9 Kimi Raikkonen Lotus-Renault 1’58.897 2.552 8
9 12 Nico Hulkenberg Force India-Mercedes 1’58.943 2.598 12
10 5 Fernando Alonso Ferrari 1’59.015 2.670 14
11 11 Paul di Resta Force India-Mercedes 1’59.429 3.084 9
12 18 Pastor Maldonado Williams-Renault 1’59.472 3.127 6
13 1 Sebastian Vettel Red Bull-Renault 1’59.476 3.131 10
14 17 Jean-Eric Vergne Toro Rosso-Ferrari 1’59.854 3.509 7
15 6 Felipe Massa Ferrari 2’00.565 4.220 7
16 24 Timo Glock Marussia-Cosworth 2’00.820 4.475 11
17 19 Bruno Senna Williams-Renault 2’01.099 4.754 6
18 21 Vitaly Petrov Caterham-Renault 2’01.348 5.003 12
19 25 Charles Pic Marussia-Cosworth 2’03.719 7.374 8
20 23 Narain Karthikeyan HRT-Cosworth 2’04.774 8.429 8
21 10 Romain Grosjean Lotus-Renault No time 1
22 16 Daniel Ricciardo Toro Rosso-Ferrari No time 2
23 2 Mark Webber Red Bull-Renault No time 1
24 22 Pedro de la Rosa HRT-Cosworth No time 0

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Grosjean fastest at drenched Silverstone

Jules Bianchi, Force India, Silverstone, 2012Very wet conditions greeted the teams for the first 90 minutes of practice ahead of the British Grand Prix.

Patches of standing water were visible around the circuit as the drivers made their first tentative laps out of the pits.

The rain was light to begin with and drivers were able to improve their times for the first half of the session. Mark Webber was the first driver to turn a lap in less than two minutes.

Webber continued to lower his time but the quickest lap of the session went to Romain Grosjean, who set a 1’56.552 shortly before the conditions worsened.

Unsurprisingly the hazardous conditions caught a few drivers out. Heikki Kovalainen had a messy moment in the Caterham, skidding off st Becketts and plughing through the Silverstone mud.

Both HRT drivers also had a spin, as the did returning Timo Glock for Marussia.

Kamui Kobayashi did the most laps, completing 19 tours without suffering a repeat of his crash in last year’s practice session.

However neither Force India set a time, nor did Fernando Alonso, though Ferrari did a series of practice starts at the end of the session.

Pos. No. Driver Car Best lap Gap Laps
1 10 Romain Grosjean Lotus-Renault 1’56.552 13
2 16 Daniel Ricciardo Toro Rosso-Ferrari 1’56.827 0.275 10
3 4 Lewis Hamilton McLaren-Mercedes 1’57.174 0.622 6
4 15 Sergio Perez Sauber-Ferrari 1’57.664 1.112 11
5 6 Felipe Massa Ferrari 1’58.119 1.567 7
6 2 Mark Webber Red Bull-Renault 1’58.463 1.911 7
7 14 Kamui Kobayashi Sauber-Ferrari 1’58.483 1.931 19
8 7 Michael Schumacher Mercedes 1’58.493 1.941 10
9 8 Nico Rosberg Mercedes 1’58.942 2.390 8
10 17 Jean-Eric Vergne Toro Rosso-Ferrari 1’59.076 2.524 12
11 1 Sebastian Vettel Red Bull-Renault 1’59.414 2.862 11
12 21 Vitaly Petrov Caterham-Renault 1’59.614 3.062 9
13 19 Valtteri Bottas Williams-Renault 1’59.733 3.181 7
14 20 Heikki Kovalainen Caterham-Renault 1’59.787 3.235 10
15 18 Pastor Maldonado Williams-Renault 2’00.125 3.573 5
16 9 Kimi Raikkonen Lotus-Renault 2’00.253 3.701 9
17 3 Jenson Button McLaren-Mercedes 2’01.834 5.282 6
18 24 Timo Glock Marussia-Cosworth 2’01.835 5.283 6
19 22 Pedro de la Rosa HRT-Cosworth 2’04.341 7.789 9
20 23 Daniel Clos HRT-Cosworth 2’05.022 8.470 6
21 25 Charles Pic Marussia-Cosworth 2’11.760 15.208 6
22 5 Fernando Alonso Ferrari No time 4
23 11 Paul di Resta Force India-Mercedes No time 3
24 12 Jules Bianchi Force India-Mercedes No time 1

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Button leads Lotuses as practice ends in Valencia

Jenson Button, McLaren, Valencia, 2012Jenson Button was quickest in the final practice session as he appears to have made progress with his McLaren.

The Lotus pair were second and third fastest as traffic prevented several drivers from improving at the end of the session.

The Lotus drivers were first onto track in warmed conditions than had greeted the drivers on Friday. Track temperature reached 38C by the end of the session.

Kimi Raikkonen led Romain Grosjean by just under three tenths of a second to begin with.

They were then beaten by Lewis Hamilton, who edged Raikkonen’s mark by the slender margin of three-thousandths of a second. Next to take over at the top was Pastor Maldonado, who beat Hamilton’s time by three-hundredths.

Ferrari and Red Bull had a quiet start to the session but now they showed their hand. Sebastian Vettel’s second quick lap was just six-hundredths slower than Maldonado’s – but that left him fourth. On his next run he went fastest, putting three-tenths of a second between him and the Williams.

But team mate Mark Webber hit trouble – having set a time of 1’41.282 he returned to the pits and did not re-appear, a brake problem limiting him to just four laps.

Grosjean was the first to try the soft tyres, and despite running slightly wide at turn 17 a 1’38.655 was enough to put him comfortably fastest.

Raikkonen fell short in his bid to beat his team mate’s time when he tried the soft tyres a quarter of an hour later, crossing the line a tenth of a second slower than Grosjean. It was Button who finally demoted the Lotus with five minutes remaining.

But their rivals struggled to find space on a congested track in the closing minutes. Vettel had to abort his last run but was advised to find clear air to set some quick sector times on his in-lap. This he did, topping the times in the first and second sectors before returning to the pits.

The Force Indias repeated their pace from Friday, Nico Hulkenberg leading Paul di Resta in fourth and fifth places.

Pedro de la Rosa lost control of his HRT again but didn’t hit anything this time – spinning to a stop at the final corner.

Pos. No. Driver Car Best lap Gap Laps
1 3 Jenson Button McLaren-Mercedes 1’38.562 17
2 10 Romain Grosjean Lotus-Renault 1’38.655 0.093 18
3 9 Kimi Raikkonen Lotus-Renault 1’38.759 0.197 18
4 12 Nico Hulkenberg Force India-Mercedes 1’38.819 0.257 17
5 11 Paul di Resta Force India-Mercedes 1’38.892 0.330 17
6 15 Sergio Perez Sauber-Ferrari 1’39.084 0.522 20
7 7 Michael Schumacher Mercedes 1’39.141 0.579 15
8 4 Lewis Hamilton McLaren-Mercedes 1’39.178 0.616 17
9 6 Felipe Massa Ferrari 1’39.318 0.756 15
10 18 Pastor Maldonado Williams-Renault 1’39.357 0.795 18
11 14 Kamui Kobayashi Sauber-Ferrari 1’39.358 0.796 19
12 5 Fernando Alonso Ferrari 1’39.395 0.833 15
13 1 Sebastian Vettel Red Bull-Renault 1’39.434 0.872 13
14 19 Bruno Senna Williams-Renault 1’39.543 0.981 13
15 8 Nico Rosberg Mercedes 1’39.946 1.384 20
16 17 Jean-Eric Vergne Toro Rosso-Ferrari 1’40.037 1.475 17
17 16 Daniel Ricciardo Toro Rosso-Ferrari 1’40.134 1.572 20
18 20 Heikki Kovalainen Caterham-Renault 1’40.681 2.119 15
19 2 Mark Webber Red Bull-Renault 1’41.282 2.720 4
20 21 Vitaly Petrov Caterham-Renault 1’41.931 3.369 15
21 22 Pedro de la Rosa HRT-Cosworth 1’42.758 4.196 14
22 25 Charles Pic Marussia-Cosworth 1’42.815 4.253 14
23 23 Narain Karthikeyan HRT-Cosworth 1’42.943 4.381 14
24 24 Timo Glock Marussia-Cosworth 1’43.124 4.562 16

Sector times and ultimate laps

Here are the drivers’ theoretical best lap times based on their fastest sectors:

Car Driver Car Sector 1 Sector 2 Sector 3 Ultimate lap Gap
1 3 Jenson Button McLaren-Mercedes 26.054 44.719 27.789 1’38.562
2 1 Sebastian Vettel Red Bull-Renault 25.940 44.691 27.985 1’38.616 0.054
3 10 Romain Grosjean Lotus-Renault 25.988 44.765 27.902 1’38.655 0.093
4 11 Paul di Resta Force India-Mercedes 26.240 44.793 27.664 1’38.697 0.135
5 9 Kimi Raikkonen Lotus-Renault 26.126 44.785 27.848 1’38.759 0.197
6 12 Nico Hulkenberg Force India-Mercedes 26.113 44.765 27.907 1’38.785 0.223
7 7 Michael Schumacher Mercedes 26.216 44.940 27.917 1’39.073 0.511
8 15 Sergio Perez Sauber-Ferrari 26.105 45.110 27.869 1’39.084 0.522
9 4 Lewis Hamilton McLaren-Mercedes 26.193 44.974 28.011 1’39.178 0.616
10 8 Nico Rosberg Mercedes 26.192 44.961 28.062 1’39.215 0.653
11 6 Felipe Massa Ferrari 26.265 44.887 28.123 1’39.275 0.713
12 14 Kamui Kobayashi Sauber-Ferrari 26.157 45.288 27.884 1’39.329 0.767
13 18 Pastor Maldonado Williams-Renault 26.230 45.161 27.966 1’39.357 0.795
14 5 Fernando Alonso Ferrari 26.263 45.112 28.005 1’39.380 0.818
15 19 Bruno Senna Williams-Renault 26.287 45.308 27.948 1’39.543 0.981
16 16 Daniel Ricciardo Toro Rosso-Ferrari 26.519 45.159 28.172 1’39.850 1.288
17 17 Jean-Eric Vergne Toro Rosso-Ferrari 26.603 45.181 28.174 1’39.958 1.396
18 20 Heikki Kovalainen Caterham-Renault 26.664 45.516 28.501 1’40.681 2.119
19 21 Vitaly Petrov Caterham-Renault 26.618 45.779 28.628 1’41.025 2.463
20 2 Mark Webber Red Bull-Renault 27.304 45.621 28.357 1’41.282 2.720
21 22 Pedro de la Rosa HRT-Cosworth 27.132 46.545 29.081 1’42.758 4.196
22 25 Charles Pic Marussia-Cosworth 27.255 46.671 28.889 1’42.815 4.253
23 23 Narain Karthikeyan HRT-Cosworth 27.182 46.801 28.960 1’42.943 4.381
24 24 Timo Glock Marussia-Cosworth 27.208 46.896 29.020 1’43.124 4.562

Combined practice times

Pos Driver Car FP1 FP2 FP3 Fri/Sat diff Total laps
1 Jenson Button McLaren-Mercedes 1’40.994 1’39.990 1’38.562 -1.428 69
2 Romain Grosjean Lotus-Renault 1’41.784 1’39.868 1’38.655 -1.213 66
3 Kimi Raikkonen Lotus-Renault 1’41.620 1’39.945 1’38.759 -1.186 74
4 Nico Hulkenberg Force India-Mercedes 1’39.465 1’38.819 -0.646 49
5 Paul di Resta Force India-Mercedes 1’41.105 1’39.700 1’38.892 -0.808 64
6 Sergio Perez Sauber-Ferrari 1’41.861 1’40.511 1’39.084 -1.427 65
7 Michael Schumacher Mercedes 1’41.117 1’39.601 1’39.141 -0.46 64
8 Lewis Hamilton McLaren-Mercedes 1’41.158 1’40.147 1’39.178 -0.969 60
9 Felipe Massa Ferrari 1’42.109 1’40.244 1’39.318 -0.926 70
10 Sebastian Vettel Red Bull-Renault 1’40.973 1’39.334 1’39.434 +0.1 67
11 Pastor Maldonado Williams-Renault 1’40.890 1’40.075 1’39.357 -0.718 69
12 Kamui Kobayashi Sauber-Ferrari 1’41.838 1’39.595 1’39.358 -0.237 58
13 Fernando Alonso Ferrari 1’41.065 1’39.733 1’39.395 -0.338 75
14 Bruno Senna Williams-Renault 1’39.644 1’39.543 -0.101 47
15 Mark Webber Red Bull-Renault 1’40.984 1’39.901 1’41.282 +1.381 53
16 Nico Rosberg Mercedes 1’41.182 1’39.926 1’39.946 +0.02 73
17 Jean-Eric Vergne Toro Rosso-Ferrari 1’42.758 1’41.263 1’40.037 -1.226 73
18 Daniel Ricciardo Toro Rosso-Ferrari 1’42.777 1’41.121 1’40.134 -0.987 80
19 Heikki Kovalainen Caterham-Renault 1’42.442 1’41.197 1’40.681 -0.516 79
20 Vitaly Petrov Caterham-Renault 1’43.209 1’40.963 1’41.931 +0.968 54
21 Jules Bianchi Force India-Mercedes 1’42.175 21
22 Valtteri Bottas Williams-Renault 1’42.299 24
23 Timo Glock Marussia-Cosworth 1’45.338 1’42.424 1’43.124 +0.7 44
24 Pedro de la Rosa HRT-Cosworth 1’44.996 1’44.260 1’42.758 -1.502 41
25 Charles Pic Marussia-Cosworth 1’44.147 1’42.958 1’42.815 -0.143 63
26 Narain Karthikeyan HRT-Cosworth 1’45.120 1’44.201 1’42.943 -1.258 70

2012 European Grand Prix

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Vettel leads Hulkenberg in second practice

Sebastian Vettel, Red Bull, Valencia, 2012Sebastian Vettel was quickest in the second practice session for the European Grand Prix.

The Red Bull driver, winner of the last two races at the Valencia street circuit, set a quickest time of 1’39.334. It was another close session with the top 15 covered by 0.910s.

Five different teams appeared in the top five but several of the usual suspects were missing including McLaren, Ferrari and Lotus. Nico Hulkenberg was second for Force India, followed by Kamui Kobayashi, Michael Schumacher and Bruno Senna.

Pastor Maldonado led the early running in the session, returning to the top of the time after leading the first session.

He traded fastest times with Jenson Button, the McLaren driver them being pipped by team mate Lewis Hamilton.

Fernando Alonso then took over at the top but the other local driver ran into trouble.

Pedro de la Rosa brought out the yellow flags halfway through the session when he crashed at turn 14. The HRT undesteered wide in the corner and came to a swift halt in the tyre wall. The driver fortunately climbed out uninjured.

This disrupted the efforts of several drivers to improve their times using the soft tyres. Some found the softer rubber gave them only one chance to improve their times.

Pos. No. Driver Car Best lap Gap Laps
1 1 Sebastian Vettel Red Bull-Renault 1’39.334 33
2 12 Nico Hulkenberg Force India-Mercedes 1’39.465 0.131 32
3 14 Kamui Kobayashi Sauber-Ferrari 1’39.595 0.261 20
4 7 Michael Schumacher Mercedes 1’39.601 0.267 27
5 19 Bruno Senna Williams-Renault 1’39.644 0.310 34
6 11 Paul di Resta Force India-Mercedes 1’39.700 0.366 32
7 5 Fernando Alonso Ferrari 1’39.733 0.399 34
8 10 Romain Grosjean Lotus-Renault 1’39.868 0.534 33
9 2 Mark Webber Red Bull-Renault 1’39.901 0.567 30
10 8 Nico Rosberg Mercedes 1’39.926 0.592 32
11 9 Kimi Raikkonen Lotus-Renault 1’39.945 0.611 34
12 3 Jenson Button McLaren-Mercedes 1’39.990 0.656 33
13 18 Pastor Maldonado Williams-Renault 1’40.075 0.741 29
14 4 Lewis Hamilton McLaren-Mercedes 1’40.147 0.813 25
15 6 Felipe Massa Ferrari 1’40.244 0.910 35
16 15 Sergio Perez Sauber-Ferrari 1’40.511 1.177 29
17 21 Vitaly Petrov Caterham-Renault 1’40.963 1.629 20
18 16 Daniel Ricciardo Toro Rosso-Ferrari 1’41.121 1.787 32
19 20 Heikki Kovalainen Caterham-Renault 1’41.197 1.863 38
20 17 Jean-Eric Vergne Toro Rosso-Ferrari 1’41.263 1.929 29
21 24 Timo Glock Marussia-Cosworth 1’42.424 3.090 21
22 25 Charles Pic Marussia-Cosworth 1’42.958 3.624 30
23 23 Narain Karthikeyan HRT-Cosworth 1’44.201 4.867 33
24 22 Pedro de la Rosa HRT-Cosworth 1’44.260 4.926 12

2012 European Grand Prix

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Maldonado heads close first session in Valencia

Sebastian Vettel, Red Bull, Valencia, 2012Pastor Maldonado led a tightly-bunched field in the first practice session for the European Grand Prix.

The top nine drivers ended the session covered by less than three-tenths of a second.

Both Red Bull drivers were within a tenth of a second off Maldonado when the chequered flag fell, Sebastian Vettel (pictured) ahead of Mark Webber.

Jenson Button seemed happier with the performance of his McLaren during the session, ending up 0.104s off Maldonado.

Home driver Fernando Alonso was fifth-quickest but angered Webber after holding up the Red Bull driver at the end of the lap later in the session.

Paul di Resta also featured in the close leading nine, joined by Michael Schumacher, Lewis Hamilton and Nico Rosberg.

The two Lotuses were tenth and eleventh, Kimi Raikkonen leading Romain Grosjean.

The first session was run in cooler-than-expected conditions, track temperature rising to 32C by the end of practice. Drivers continued to improve their sector times up until the dying moments.

Caterham showed some potential, Heikki Kovalainen lapping quicker than both Toro Rosso’s and just a tenth of a second off Williams test driver Valtteri Bottas.

A DRS problem for Pedro de la Rosa delayed him earlier in the session – the wing jammed open, as Michael Schumacher’s did in Canada.

Pos. No. Driver Car Best lap Gap Laps
1 18 Pastor Maldonado Williams-Renault 1’40.890 22
2 1 Sebastian Vettel Red Bull-Renault 1’40.973 0.083 21
3 2 Mark Webber Red Bull-Renault 1’40.984 0.094 19
4 3 Jenson Button McLaren-Mercedes 1’40.994 0.104 19
5 5 Fernando Alonso Ferrari 1’41.065 0.175 26
6 11 Paul di Resta Force India-Mercedes 1’41.105 0.215 15
7 7 Michael Schumacher Mercedes 1’41.117 0.227 22
8 4 Lewis Hamilton McLaren-Mercedes 1’41.158 0.268 18
9 8 Nico Rosberg Mercedes 1’41.182 0.292 21
10 9 Kimi Raikkonen Lotus-Renault 1’41.620 0.730 22
11 10 Romain Grosjean Lotus-Renault 1’41.784 0.894 15
12 14 Kamui Kobayashi Sauber-Ferrari 1’41.838 0.948 19
13 15 Sergio Perez Sauber-Ferrari 1’41.861 0.971 16
14 6 Felipe Massa Ferrari 1’42.109 1.219 20
15 12 Jules Bianchi Force India-Mercedes 1’42.175 1.285 21
16 19 Valtteri Bottas Williams-Renault 1’42.299 1.409 24
17 20 Heikki Kovalainen Caterham-Renault 1’42.442 1.552 26
18 17 Jean-Eric Vergne Toro Rosso-Ferrari 1’42.758 1.868 27
19 16 Daniel Ricciardo Toro Rosso-Ferrari 1’42.777 1.887 28
20 21 Vitaly Petrov Caterham-Renault 1’43.209 2.319 19
21 25 Charles Pic Marussia-Cosworth 1’44.147 3.257 19
22 22 Pedro de la Rosa HRT-Cosworth 1’44.996 4.106 15
23 23 Narain Karthikeyan HRT-Cosworth 1’45.120 4.230 23
24 24 Timo Glock Marussia-Cosworth 1’45.338 4.448 7

2012 European Grand Prix

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Vettel edges Alonso in final practice in Montreal

Sebastian Vettel, Red Bull, Montreal, 2012Sebastian Vettel ended the final practice session for the Canadian Grand Prix with the fastest time.

But there was very little between him and Fernando Alonso – Vettel was just 0.006s faster than the Ferrari driver.

Lewis Hamilton, who was quickest in both sessions on Friday, ended the final hour of practice in third place.

Nico Rosberg’s session was over before he had completed a single lap. He told the team the car felt strange when he did his first practice start, and came to a halt at turn seven on his installation lap.

He wasn’t the only driver who failed to get a lap in. Jean-Eric Vergne ran onto the grass at the exit of turn one at the start of his first time lap and skidded into the barriers.

Jenson Button joined the track early, needing to make up time after technical problems limited his running on Friday.

Vettel led the running to begin with on soft tyres, before his best time was beaten by Alonso. Hamilton was not far behind the Ferrari driver on the track, and edged Alonso’s mark by 0.025s.

With a quarter of an hour to go Vettel found more time on the softs, beating Hamilton’s mark by a thousandth of a second.

Alonso was the first of the three onto the super-soft tyres and went fastest with a 1’14.448 on his first effort.

Vettel edged his time by six-thousandths of a second with his best effort, aided by a tow from Schuamcher’s Mercedes. Hamilton also took to the track on super-soft tyres but did not improve his time.

Mark Webber was fourth-fastest ahead of Pastor Maldonado, Felipe Massa and Michael Schumacher.

Romain Grosjean led the Lotus pair with Kimi Raikkonen under investigation for cutting across the final corner on his way into the pits.

Nico Hulkenberg completed the top ten for Force India. Team mate Paul di Resta was 11th, and unhappy at being held up by Button. The McLaren driver ended the session 15th.

Pos. No. Driver Car Best lap Gap Laps
1 1 Sebastian Vettel Red Bull-Renault 1’14.442 22
2 5 Fernando Alonso Ferrari 1’14.448 0.006 17
3 4 Lewis Hamilton McLaren-Mercedes 1’14.712 0.270 22
4 2 Mark Webber Red Bull-Renault 1’14.724 0.282 21
5 18 Pastor Maldonado Williams-Renault 1’14.755 0.313 22
6 6 Felipe Massa Ferrari 1’14.767 0.325 21
7 7 Michael Schumacher Mercedes 1’14.796 0.354 19
8 10 Romain Grosjean Lotus-Renault 1’14.873 0.431 20
9 9 Kimi Raikkonen Lotus-Renault 1’14.977 0.535 21
10 12 Nico Hulkenberg Force India-Mercedes 1’14.992 0.550 22
11 11 Paul di Resta Force India-Mercedes 1’15.067 0.625 19
12 15 Sergio Perez Sauber-Ferrari 1’15.112 0.670 21
13 14 Kamui Kobayashi Sauber-Ferrari 1’15.126 0.684 24
14 19 Bruno Senna Williams-Renault 1’15.237 0.795 22
15 3 Jenson Button McLaren-Mercedes 1’15.327 0.885 19
16 16 Daniel Ricciardo Toro Rosso-Ferrari 1’15.498 1.056 19
17 21 Vitaly Petrov Caterham-Renault 1’16.268 1.826 24
18 20 Heikki Kovalainen Caterham-Renault 1’16.545 2.103 20
19 22 Pedro de la Rosa HRT-Cosworth 1’17.705 3.263 21
20 24 Timo Glock Marussia-Cosworth 1’17.974 3.532 23
23 17 Jean-Eric Vergne Toro Rosso-Ferrari No time
24 8 Nico Rosberg Mercedes No time

Complete session times

Pos Driver Car FP1 FP2 FP3 Fri/Sat diff Total laps
1 Sebastian Vettel Red Bull-Renault 1’15.682 1’15.531 1’14.442 -1.089 95
2 Fernando Alonso Ferrari 1’15.842 1’15.313 1’14.448 -0.865 87
3 Lewis Hamilton McLaren-Mercedes 1’15.564 1’15.259 1’14.712 -0.547 95
4 Mark Webber Red Bull-Renault 1’15.897 1’15.907 1’14.724 -1.173 90
5 Pastor Maldonado Williams-Renault 1’16.859 1’15.987 1’14.755 -1.232 87
6 Felipe Massa Ferrari 1’16.619 1’15.410 1’14.767 -0.643 77
7 Michael Schumacher Mercedes 1’16.264 1’15.697 1’14.796 -0.901 79
8 Romain Grosjean Lotus-Renault 1’16.890 1’16.360 1’14.873 -1.487 85
9 Kimi Raikkonen Lotus-Renault 1’17.014 1’16.562 1’14.977 -1.585 96
10 Nico Hulkenberg Force India-Mercedes 1’15.986 1’15.799 1’14.992 -0.807 90
11 Paul di Resta Force India-Mercedes 1’16.460 1’15.544 1’15.067 -0.477 83
12 Sergio Perez Sauber-Ferrari 1’16.249 1’15.898 1’15.112 -0.786 91
13 Kamui Kobayashi Sauber-Ferrari 1’16.000 1’15.651 1’15.126 -0.525 92
14 Bruno Senna Williams-Renault 1’18.762 1’17.022 1’15.237 -1.785 80
15 Jenson Button McLaren-Mercedes 1’16.347 1’15.812 1’15.327 -0.485 45
16 Daniel Ricciardo Toro Rosso-Ferrari 1’17.580 1’17.716 1’15.498 -2.082 84
17 Nico Rosberg Mercedes 1’15.782 1’15.878
18 Vitaly Petrov Caterham-Renault 1’17.935 1’17.075 1’16.268 -0.807 88
19 Heikki Kovalainen Caterham-Renault 1’18.177 1’16.981 1’16.545 -0.436 60
20 Jean-Eric Vergne Toro Rosso-Ferrari 1’17.352 1’17.124
21 Pedro de la Rosa HRT-Cosworth 1’18.182 1’18.908 1’17.705 -0.477 74
22 Timo Glock Marussia-Cosworth 1’20.004 1’19.084 1’17.974 -1.11 84
23 Narain Karthikeyan HRT-Cosworth 1’19.354 1’19.378 1’18.189 -1.165 65
24 Charles Pic Marussia-Cosworth 1’20.087 1’19.902 1’18.684 -1.218 64

2012 Canadian Grand Prix

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Hamilton on top as Senna crashes in second practice

Lewis Hamilton, McLaren, Montreal, 2012Lewis Hamilton carried on where he left off in the second practice session at the Circuit Gilles Villeneuve.

The McLaren driver headed the times at the end of the session, followed by the two Ferraris.

Hamilton was comfortably quickest in the opening part of the session, running on soft tyres and gradually lowering his best time.

He only found a slight improvement when he switched to the super-soft tyres, lowering his best to a 1’15.259.

The teams began the session eagerly, the weather radars telling them to expect rain halfway through. But, as in the last race, the forecasts proved pessimistic, and the tracks remained dry throughout.

For the second session in a row a crash brought out the red flags. This time the culprit was Bruno Senna, who hit the ‘Wall of Champions’ at the exit of the final turn.

The Williams driver lost control of his car in the first part of the chicane. As he tried to straighten it up the rear end snapped away and he went into the wall backwards. Senna admitted afterwards he had been “frustrated” by getting into traffic on his lap.

The session restarted with just under half an hour remaining. Heikki Kovalainen, who crashed in the first practice session, was able to return to the track in his repaired Caterham.

But Jenson Button spent most of the session in the pits as a continuation of his problems from first practice necessitated a gearbox change. There was less than 20 minutes left on the clock when he finally joined the session.

Button did a 14-lap run at the end of the session, moving up to ninth place. The top 13 were covered by less than three-quarters of a second.

Fernando Alonso was second-quickest despite spinning at turn nine early in the session. Sebastian Vettel was fourth following a reprimand for his contact with Senna in the first session.

Paul di Resta, fifth, was another driver who had an off-track moment, spinning at turn one when he locked his brakes.

Pos. No. Driver Car Best lap Gap Laps
1 4 Lewis Hamilton McLaren-Mercedes 1’15.259 43
2 5 Fernando Alonso Ferrari 1’15.313 0.054 36
3 6 Felipe Massa Ferrari 1’15.410 0.151 39
4 1 Sebastian Vettel Red Bull-Renault 1’15.531 0.272 44
5 11 Paul di Resta Force India-Mercedes 1’15.544 0.285 32
6 14 Kamui Kobayashi Sauber-Ferrari 1’15.651 0.392 37
7 7 Michael Schumacher Mercedes 1’15.697 0.438 32
8 12 Nico Hulkenberg Force India-Mercedes 1’15.799 0.540 39
9 3 Jenson Button McLaren-Mercedes 1’15.812 0.553 14
10 8 Nico Rosberg Mercedes 1’15.878 0.619 40
11 15 Sergio Perez Sauber-Ferrari 1’15.898 0.639 38
12 2 Mark Webber Red Bull-Renault 1’15.907 0.648 41
13 18 Pastor Maldonado Williams-Renault 1’15.987 0.728 39
14 10 Romain Grosjean Lotus-Renault 1’16.360 1.101 29
15 9 Kimi Raikkonen Lotus-Renault 1’16.562 1.303 33
16 20 Heikki Kovalainen Caterham-Renault 1’16.981 1.722 24
17 19 Bruno Senna Williams-Renault 1’17.022 1.763 22
18 21 Vitaly Petrov Caterham-Renault 1’17.075 1.816 41
19 17 Jean-Eric Vergne Toro Rosso-Ferrari 1’17.124 1.865 41
20 16 Daniel Ricciardo Toro Rosso-Ferrari 1’17.716 2.457 34
21 22 Pedro de la Rosa HRT-Cosworth 1’18.908 3.649 27
22 24 Timo Glock Marussia-Cosworth 1’19.084 3.825 40
23 23 Narain Karthikeyan HRT-Cosworth 1’19.378 4.119 21
24 25 Charles Pic Marussia-Cosworth 1’19.902 4.643 18

2012 Canadian Grand Prix

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Hamilton tops first practice after Kovalainen crash

Heikki Kovalainen, Caterham, Montreal, 2012Lewis Hamilton led the way in the first practice session for the Canadian Grand Prix.

The McLaren driver set a fastest time of 1’15.564 on the soft tyres, just over a tenth of a second fastest than Sebastian Vettel.

With occasional drops of rain falling at the track, and heavier rain expected during the second practice session, the teams wasted no times in getting the day’s running started.

Several teams had aerodynamic testing to do. Ferrari as usual had liberal amounts of flow-vis applied to their rear wings.

Red Bull had substantial flow measurement arrays fitted to both cars, as well as special cameras directed at different points of their cars.

Hamilton was immediately on the pace after taking to the track, reeling off a quick sequence of laps to lead the times.

Early in the second half of the session Heikki Kovalainen lost the back end of his car coming out of turn nine. As he tried to straighten up his Caterham the car snapped right and hit the wall heavily on the right, taking two wheels off it.

The session was stopped for around 15 minutes while the Caterham was recovered, restarting with around half an hour to go.

After the session resumed Nico Rosberg briefly took over at the top of the times before Hamilton produced another improvement to beat it again.

Both Red Bull drivers improved their times in the final minutes of the session on super-soft tyres. Vettel’s last effort produced a 1’15.682, good enough for second.

However the stewards are investigating an incident between him and Williams driver Bruno Senna at the chicane at the end of the lap during the session, when Vettel overtook Senna and the pair made contact.

Fernando Alonso was fourth-quickest for Ferrari who tested a new configuration of exhaust exit on their F2012.

Mark Webber was sixth ahead of Nico Hulkenberg and the Saubers of Kamui Kobayshi and Sergio Perez.

Michael Schumacher and Jenson Button completed the top ten, the latter slowed by a slipping clutch during the first session.

Pos. No. Driver Car Best lap Gap Laps
1 4 Lewis Hamilton McLaren-Mercedes 1’15.564 30
2 1 Sebastian Vettel Red Bull-Renault 1’15.682 0.118 29
3 8 Nico Rosberg Mercedes 1’15.782 0.218 30
4 5 Fernando Alonso Ferrari 1’15.842 0.278 34
5 2 Mark Webber Red Bull-Renault 1’15.897 0.333 28
6 12 Nico Hulkenberg Force India-Mercedes 1’15.986 0.422 29
7 14 Kamui Kobayashi Sauber-Ferrari 1’16.000 0.436 31
8 15 Sergio Perez Sauber-Ferrari 1’16.249 0.685 32
9 7 Michael Schumacher Mercedes 1’16.264 0.700 28
10 3 Jenson Button McLaren-Mercedes 1’16.347 0.783 12
11 11 Paul di Resta Force India-Mercedes 1’16.460 0.896 32
12 6 Felipe Massa Ferrari 1’16.619 1.055 17
13 18 Pastor Maldonado Williams-Renault 1’16.859 1.295 26
14 10 Romain Grosjean Lotus-Renault 1’16.890 1.326 36
15 9 Kimi Raikkonen Lotus-Renault 1’17.014 1.450 42
16 17 Jean-Eric Vergne Toro Rosso-Ferrari 1’17.352 1.788 28
17 16 Daniel Ricciardo Toro Rosso-Ferrari 1’17.580 2.016 31
18 21 Vitaly Petrov Caterham-Renault 1’17.935 2.371 23
19 20 Heikki Kovalainen Caterham-Renault 1’18.177 2.613 16
20 22 Pedro de la Rosa HRT-Cosworth 1’18.182 2.618 26
21 19 Bruno Senna Williams-Renault 1’18.762 3.198 36
22 23 Narain Karthikeyan HRT-Cosworth 1’19.354 3.790 23
23 24 Timo Glock Marussia-Cosworth 1’20.004 4.440 21
24 25 Charles Pic Marussia-Cosworth 1’20.087 4.523 23

2012 Canadian Grand Prix

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Rosberg fastest as Maldonado crashes in Monaco

Nico Rosberg, Mercedes, Monaco, 2012Nico Rosberg set the fastest time in final practice for the Monaco Grand Prix.

But the session came to a controversial end as the winner of the last race, Pastor Maldonado, appeared to cause a collision with Sergio Perez.

Moments later Maldonado crashed his Williams, bringing the session to an end.

Kimi Raikkonen had done little running on Thursday, so he was one of the first to take to the circuit as the final hour of practice began.

He was joined by Schumacher, the Mercedes driver troubled by a gearbox problem on his car. As was the case on Thursday, his engineer warned him he was overlapping the brake and throttle on his car at the chicane, as well as Sainte Devote.

Raikkonen headed the times to begin with before team mate Romain Grosjean took over in the other Lotus, setting a best of 1’15.811.

Sergio Perez was among the quickest runners on the soft tyres, but lost time after glancing the barriers, damaging his car.

One of the first drivers to switch to super-soft tyres was Nico Rosberg. He set a 1’15.159 with his second effort, saying the rear tyres only came in on the second lap.

The two Ferraris got closest to his effort and unusually it was Massa who led the pair, just 0.038s slower than the Mercedes, Alonso just 0.013s behind his team mate.

Vettel had languished in the middle of the times sheets before putting on the super-softs. He managed to split the two Ferraris, lapping just a thousandth of a second faster than Alonso.

The final moments brought drama. Paul di Resta hit trouble at the same spot as Perez’s crash the year before, spinning and clipping the barrier on the approach to the chicane.

Perez himself was then involved in a bizarre incident with Pastor Maldonado. The Spanish Grand Prix winner turned across the front of the Sauber at Portier, making contact between the two.

“Maldonado is so crazy, guys,” complained Perez on his radio afterwards. “I want to complain about Maldonado.”

Maldonado then crashed at Casino, clipping the barrier at the inside of the corner then sliding into the wall at the exit. That brought out the red flags, ending the session with three minutes to go.

Pos. No. Driver Car Best lap Gap Laps
1 8 Nico Rosberg Mercedes 1’15.159 25
2 6 Felipe Massa Ferrari 1’15.197 0.038 21
3 1 Sebastian Vettel Red Bull-Renault 1’15.209 0.050 20
4 5 Fernando Alonso Ferrari 1’15.210 0.051 20
5 10 Romain Grosjean Lotus-Renault 1’15.445 0.286 18
6 3 Jenson Button McLaren-Mercedes 1’15.471 0.312 19
7 4 Lewis Hamilton McLaren-Mercedes 1’15.734 0.575 19
8 7 Michael Schumacher Mercedes 1’15.893 0.734 23
9 15 Sergio Perez Sauber-Ferrari 1’16.110 0.951 14
10 2 Mark Webber Red Bull-Renault 1’16.219 1.060 19
11 17 Jean-Eric Vergne Toro Rosso-Ferrari 1’16.226 1.067 20
12 9 Kimi Raikkonen Lotus-Renault 1’16.301 1.142 21
13 14 Kamui Kobayashi Sauber-Ferrari 1’16.311 1.152 19
14 16 Daniel Ricciardo Toro Rosso-Ferrari 1’16.479 1.320 20
15 12 Nico Hulkenberg Force India-Mercedes 1’17.027 1.868 20
16 19 Bruno Senna Williams-Renault 1’17.055 1.896 26
17 20 Heikki Kovalainen Caterham-Renault 1’17.276 2.117 25
18 11 Paul di Resta Force India-Mercedes 1’17.390 2.231 19
19 21 Vitaly Petrov Caterham-Renault 1’17.404 2.245 22
20 24 Timo Glock Marussia-Cosworth 1’18.259 3.100 18
21 18 Pastor Maldonado Williams-Renault 1’18.488 3.329 22
22 25 Charles Pic Marussia-Cosworth 1’19.099 3.940 17
23 23 Narain Karthikeyan HRT-Cosworth 1’19.147 3.988 19
24 22 Pedro de la Rosa HRT-Cosworth 1’19.151 3.992 19

Combined practice times

Pos Driver Car FP1 FP2 FP3 Fri/Sat diff Total laps
1 Nico Rosberg Mercedes 1’17.261 1’17.021 1’15.159 -1.862 58
2 Felipe Massa Ferrari 1’16.843 1’16.602 1’15.197 -1.405 61
3 Sebastian Vettel Red Bull-Renault 1’17.222 1’17.303 1’15.209 -2.013 55
4 Fernando Alonso Ferrari 1’16.265 1’16.661 1’15.210 -1.055 65
5 Romain Grosjean Lotus-Renault 1’16.630 1’16.138 1’15.445 -0.693 54
6 Jenson Button McLaren-Mercedes 1’17.190 1’15.746 1’15.471 -0.275 49
7 Lewis Hamilton McLaren-Mercedes 1’16.747 1’17.375 1’15.734 -1.013 50
8 Michael Schumacher Mercedes 1’17.413 1’17.293 1’15.893 -1.4 48
9 Sergio Perez Sauber-Ferrari 1’16.711 1’18.251 1’16.110 -0.601 57
10 Mark Webber Red Bull-Renault 1’18.106 1’17.148 1’16.219 -0.929 56
11 Jean-Eric Vergne Toro Rosso-Ferrari 1’18.209 1’18.522 1’16.226 -1.983 67
12 Kimi Raikkonen Lotus-Renault 1’19.267 1’16.301 -2.966 47
13 Kamui Kobayashi Sauber-Ferrari 1’17.038 1’17.153 1’16.311 -0.727 62
14 Daniel Ricciardo Toro Rosso-Ferrari 1’18.252 1’18.808 1’16.479 -1.773 74
15 Pastor Maldonado Williams-Renault 1’16.760 1’16.820 1’18.488 +1.728 62
16 Nico Hulkenberg Force India-Mercedes 1’17.631 1’17.800 1’17.027 -0.604 63
17 Bruno Senna Williams-Renault 1’18.617 1’17.655 1’17.055 -0.6 64
18 Heikki Kovalainen Caterham-Renault 1’19.039 1’20.029 1’17.276 -1.763 58
19 Paul di Resta Force India-Mercedes 1’18.302 1’17.395 1’17.390 -0.005 56
20 Vitaly Petrov Caterham-Renault 1’19.341 1’18.440 1’17.404 -1.036 63
21 Timo Glock Marussia-Cosworth 1’21.638 1’19.309 1’18.259 -1.05 56
22 Charles Pic Marussia-Cosworth 1’20.895 1’20.240 1’19.099 -1.141 56
23 Narain Karthikeyan HRT-Cosworth 1’20.838 1’20.886 1’19.147 -1.691 55
24 Pedro de la Rosa HRT-Cosworth 1’22.423 1’20.631 1’19.151 -1.48 46

2012 Monaco Grand Prix

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Image ?? Daimler/Hoch Zwei