Hamilton quickest in FP1 despite running fewest laps

2012 Bahrain Grand Prix second practice

Posted on

| Written by

McLaren’s Lewis Hamilton has set the early pace in first practice ahead of this weekend’s Bahrain Grand Prix.

Hamilton completed only 11 laps of the Bahrain International Circuit, the fewest of anyone apart from former team mate Heikki Kovalainen in the Caterham.

Red Bull’s Sebastian Vettel was second fastest, three tenths slower than Hamilton, while Paul di Resta was third fastest in his Force India after being the only driver to set his personal best with the quicker Soft compound.

Chinese Grand Prix winner Nico Rosberg was fourth fastest, followed by Jenson Button, Nico Hulkenberg, Michael Schumacher and Mark Webber – who were all within a second of Hamilton’s time.

Ferrari will be hoping to find more speed from the F2012 over the course of the weekend, as Malaysian GP winner Fernando Alonso was almost two seconds off the ultimate pace in 13th after suffering from visible oversteer.

As to be expected, it was a hot and dusty start to the weekend with air temperature reaching 28C and track temperature even warmer at 38C.

The sandy surface meant that there was little activity at the start of the session, outside of the usual installation laps, with the bigger teams happy to wait until the track surface had been cleaned by other cars before venturing out onto the circuit.

The Force India team of Nico Hulkenberg and Paul di Resta were the first drivers to set representative times, both posting 1’35s on the harder Medium compound.

That was soon bettered by the Lotus pair of Romain Grosjean and Kimi Raikkonen, who lowered the benchmark to the high 1’34s.

With just over half of the session to go, the front runners began to leave the pit lane. Sebastian Vettel was the first to break the 1’34 barrier with a 1’33.877, before Lewis Hamilton bettered the reigning world champion by three tenths. That proved to be the fastest lap of the session.

In the final ten minutes, Force India took the decision to run both their cars on the Soft Pirelli compound, with di Resta setting the third fastest time with a 1’34.150.

The 90-degree left-hander of turn 10 proved tricky for some drivers in the opening session. Grosjean, Sauber’s Kamui Kobayashi, Mark Webber and the Mercedes pair of Rosberg and Schumacher all locking up into the difficult braking zone.

Team radio suggested that di Resta was suffering from an intermittent KERS problem during the session, while Timo Glock had a brief spin at Turn 1 in his Marussia near the end of the session.

Pos.No.DriverCarBest lapGapLaps
14Lewis HamiltonMcLaren1’33.57211
21Sebastian VettelRed Bull1’33.877+0.30521
311Paul di RestaForce India1’34.150+0.57826
48Nico RosbergMercedes1’34.249+0.67723
53Jenson ButtonMcLaren1’34.277+0.70514
612Nico HulkenbergForce India1’34.322+0.77226
77Michael SchumacherMercedes1’34.483+0.91117
82Mark WebberRed Bull1’34.522+0.98022
99Kimi RaikkonenLotus1’34.609+1.03718
1010Romain GrosjeanLotus1’34.847+1.27520
1115Sergio PerezSauber1’35.024+1.45222
1218Pastor MaldonadoWilliams1’35.268+1.69625
135Fernando AlonsoFerrari1’35.436+1.86421
1419Valtteri BottasWilliams1’35.497+1.92524
156Felipe MassaFerrari1’35.719+2.14719
1614Kamui KobayashiSauber1’35.929+2.35724
1717Jean-Eric VergneToro Rosso1’36.195+2.62320
1820Heikki KovalainenCaterham1’36.330+2.75811
1921Vitaly PetrovCaterham1’36.484+2.91218
2016Daniel RicciardoToro Rosso1’36.591+3.01920
2125Charles PicMarussia1’37.467+3.89518
2224Timo GlockMarussia1’38.006+4.43418
2322Pedro de la RosaHRT1’38.877+5.30519
2423Narain KarthikeyanHRT1’39.996+6.42423

2012 Bahrain Grand Prix

    Browse all 2012 Bahrain Grand Prix articles

    Author information

    Will Wood
    Will has been a RaceFans contributor since 2012 during which time he has covered F1 test sessions, launch events and interviewed drivers. He mainly...

    Got a potential story, tip or enquiry? Find out more about RaceFans and contact us here.

    21 comments on “Hamilton quickest in FP1 despite running fewest laps”

    1. Rumours abound in the paddock that Force India will skip the second practice session. They might seem a little spooked by the petrol bomb incident, but with the session due to end at 3:30pm local time and with the time taken to pack up the garage for the day, the teams will be travelling from the circuit to Manama during Friday afternoon prayers, which have seen some of the largest organised demonstrations – or “days of rage” – both in Bahrain and across the wider Arab Spring movement. While the protest organisers claim that they have no intention of hurting anyone in the Formula 1 community, all it takes is oue group of disinfatuated youths with molotov cocktails for things to turn very ugly, very quickly.

      1. Yup… it’s confirmed tht force india will be skipping / leaving early from 2nd practice session…
        Force India considers skipping practice two

      2. hmmm…. some teams may even boycott the race? . I wouldn’t be surprised if there is some internal politics disagreements going on…

    2. He really looks plugged in…just needs to keep focused and everything will fall in place

    3. Great job Will! ;)

    4. Interesting to see the that the times are quite close to the pace in 2009 qualifying (assuming they used an identical track then), because 1) so far, the cars have been quite a bit off the pace from previous years, and 2) teams seem to take a lot of fuel out already for P1. I thought they used to use P1 for setting the car up for the race. I think I saw Mark Webber doing some slower runs, but not Vettel, Hamilton and Button (I’m not really sure about the rest).

    5. Great Job Magnificent Geoffery..

      It will be good to have a dry race with no safety car.. to get a true picture of where everyone stands before the Mugello test.

    6. Nice work Will! I missed the session (forgot it was on!) but it looks like I haven’t missed anything important. Nice report. :-)

    7. Gr8 Job ….
      Just One change…. the article says “2012 Bahrain Grand Prix second practice” … It should be first practice….

      1. @parikshitrane Thanks. Unfortunately I’m still trying to work out how to change that part, so you may have to excuse me and I can assure you it’ll be changed later when Keith returns.

    8. WOO! Good report Mag (I refuse to call you Will, Ruins the mystique)
      Pretty uneventful session though.

    9. Great summary Geoff!

    10. Great article, only error is on the home page, I don’t know who it is down to but it says ‘second practice report’, and it was the first.

    11. Sweet, you used my image :)

    12. From those times it looks like Mclaren are either very confident in their pace for this weekend or are potentially being smart and waiting for track conditions to evolve before doing longer runs.

      Ferrari just look slow.

    13. The oldest folks here
      Tell tales strange to hear
      Of a fish with aliases aplenty
      Whose faith in the Saubers was never relenting
      Who one day threw off his Geoffryesque disguise
      Saying: ‘I’m a fish damn you, now let me write up those times!
      The name’s Wood I tell you and my fins have the talent
      To write copy that’s solid, not to mention well-balanced.’
      : )

    14. So, Force India look to have skipped FP2. Isn’t that a bit unfair in one way – they’ll have more fresh tyres than the other teams?

      1. I’m pretty sure you have to return all usedand unused tyres after each practice session so they’ll gain no advantage.

      2. @topdowntoedown That crossed my mind, though I doubt it crossed their mind that much.

        It would be ironic if they managed to save a set of softs and make up some places at the end of the race.

    15. I doubt the mechanics involved in the near petrolbomb would think it a reasonable swap. I appreciate other parts of the site are covering the wider situation in Bahrain, but quite simply they should not be racing here.

    16. @willwood @magnificent-geoffrey Pretty shoddy reporting!

      I jest, it’s good, reads well!

      Karthikeyan always seems so horrifically off the pace during FP sessions, even more so than the race and qualifying. What’s that all about? Do they use the drivers for two completely different exploration strategies?

    Comments are closed.