Fernando Alonso, Lewis Hamilton, Silverstone, 2012

Alonso quickest in dry final practice session

2012 British Grand Prix third practice

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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.DriverCarBest lapGapLaps
15Fernando AlonsoFerrari1’32.16721
23Jenson ButtonMcLaren-Mercedes1’32.3200.15320
310Romain GrosjeanLotus-Renault1’32.3580.19125
41Sebastian VettelRed Bull-Renault1’32.4200.25321
59Kimi RaikkonenLotus-Renault1’32.4540.28725
64Lewis HamiltonMcLaren-Mercedes1’32.4770.31020
718Pastor MaldonadoWilliams-Renault1’32.6220.45521
815Sergio PerezSauber-Ferrari1’32.9400.77319
914Kamui KobayashiSauber-Ferrari1’33.0460.87920
1012Nico HulkenbergForce India-Mercedes1’33.1500.98319
1119Bruno SennaWilliams-Renault1’33.2671.10025
1211Paul di RestaForce India-Mercedes1’33.3671.20020
132Mark WebberRed Bull-Renault1’33.3981.23124
147Michael SchumacherMercedes1’33.4621.29524
1517Jean-Eric VergneToro Rosso-Ferrari1’33.6731.50622
166Felipe MassaFerrari1’33.6741.50721
1716Daniel RicciardoToro Rosso-Ferrari1’33.7071.54021
188Nico RosbergMercedes1’33.7331.56615
1920Heikki KovalainenCaterham-Renault1’34.2982.13118
2021Vitaly PetrovCaterham-Renault1’34.7812.61420
2124Timo GlockMarussia-Cosworth1’36.6054.43818
2225Charles PicMarussia-Cosworth1’37.0604.89314
2323Narain KarthikeyanHRT-Cosworth1’37.2695.10223
2422Pedro de la RosaHRT-Cosworth1’37.4295.26217

Combined practice times

PosDriverCarFP1FP2FP3Fri/Sat diffTotal laps
1Fernando AlonsoFerrari1’59.0151’32.167-26.84839
2Jenson ButtonMcLaren-Mercedes2’01.8341’57.9481’32.320-25.62835
3Romain GrosjeanLotus-Renault1’56.5521’32.358-24.19439
4Sebastian VettelRed Bull-Renault1’59.4141’59.4761’32.420-26.99442
5Kimi RaikkonenLotus-Renault2’00.2531’58.8971’32.454-26.44342
6Lewis HamiltonMcLaren-Mercedes1’57.1741’56.3451’32.477-23.86834
7Pastor MaldonadoWilliams-Renault2’00.1251’59.4721’32.622-26.8532
8Sergio PerezSauber-Ferrari1’57.6641’57.4931’32.940-24.55343
9Kamui KobayashiSauber-Ferrari1’58.4831’56.4741’33.046-23.42855
10Nico HulkenbergForce India-Mercedes1’58.9431’33.150-25.79331
11Bruno SennaWilliams-Renault2’01.0991’33.267-27.83231
12Paul di RestaForce India-Mercedes1’59.4291’33.367-26.06230
13Mark WebberRed Bull-Renault1’58.4631’33.398-25.06532
14Michael SchumacherMercedes1’58.4931’56.5451’33.462-23.08346
15Jean-Eric VergneToro Rosso-Ferrari1’59.0761’59.8541’33.673-25.40341
16Felipe MassaFerrari1’58.1192’00.5651’33.674-24.44535
17Daniel RicciardoToro Rosso-Ferrari1’56.8271’33.707-23.1233
18Nico RosbergMercedes1’58.9421’56.5671’33.733-22.83432
19Heikki KovalainenCaterham-Renault1’59.7871’58.5801’34.298-24.28238
20Vitaly PetrovCaterham-Renault1’59.6142’01.3481’34.781-24.83341
21Timo GlockMarussia-Cosworth2’01.8352’00.8201’36.605-24.21535
22Charles PicMarussia-Cosworth2’11.7602’03.7191’37.060-26.65928
23Narain KarthikeyanHRT-Cosworth2’04.7741’37.269-27.50531
24Pedro de la RosaHRT-Cosworth2’04.3411’37.429-26.91226
25Valtteri BottasWilliams-Renault1’59.7337

2012 British Grand Prix

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Keith Collantine
Lifelong motor sport fan Keith set up RaceFans in 2005 - when it was originally called F1 Fanatic. Having previously worked as a motoring...

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30 comments on “Alonso quickest in dry final practice session”

  1. The smart money is still on Vettel for pole. Probably with a last-minute lap that is impossibly faster that everyone else.

    1. Its different when its wet.

    2. @prisoner-monkeys Usually the case! I predict the same if it remains dry.

    3. I’d say it’s too close to call. Vettel is a qualifying specialist like you say, but McLaren and Alonso have looked really strong as well. I can also see Lotus and Sauber being thereabouts, especially if it’s wet.

  2. Not often do we say but these times might be irrelevant looking at the dark clouds hovering over Silverstone and rain having started.

  3. Good to see that teams got some dry running and fans got some action. But, qualifying is still a lottery, I feel.

    1. No, it’s not a lottery. It’s never a lottery. Charlie Whiting isn’t standing around pulling numbered ping-pong balls out of a bingo cage, and until such time as he does, you cannot call qualifying a lottery because there is no element of random chance involved.

      Qualifying will be decided by preparedness. Those teams who made the most of what little dry running they had will reap the benefits of it. Those who can react to any change in the weather during the hour of qualifying will be duly rewarded. And those who can set their cars up precisely and anticiapte the best way forward will be the ones to come out on top.

      There is nothing random to it at all.

      1. and track conditions? if you are out at the right time, when the track is 0,1% dryer, you get a big advantage, isn’t that random, that you can’t know the track condition 100%, and you have to start 2-3 min before that, so… wet is pretty random. sure marussia won’t win, but any midfield team could be on pole with LOT of luck, isn’t that kinda like lottery?

        1. It is indeed a lottery!

        2. @lsl1337 – If the drivers cannot accurately read the track and weather conditions, they probably shouldn’t be in Formula 1. Or racing at all, since it’s one of the most important skills a driver can have.

      2. I would say Nico Hulkenberg’s pole at Brazil 2010 was pretty random! He was on track at the right time on a quickly drying track. He eventually finished 8th and a lap down. Yeah, his team did a great job but as @lsl1337 said, he was on track at the right time.

        You can’t deny there is a larger element of luck in a wet qualifying. Ten or twenty seconds could mean the difference between finishing a flying lap before the rain comes or as it starts to bucket down. Rain is that highly unpredictable factor that has shaken up many grids in the past.

        1. Nico Hulkenberg’s pole would have been random had Sebastian Vettel’s last run had been better than that(Hulk went on to do 1 more lap which was half a second quicker), unfortunately it wasn’t. Give talent some acknowledgement where it is due.

          1. I never said Hulkenberg was untalented nor that the pole was undeserved.
            He would have not gotten pole in the ’10 Williams under dry conditions, and nobody expected him to get pole until he actually did. Those are the reasons I used it as an example of a random, unusual pole.

    2. yeah typical. busiest time on track yet least amount of people in the grandstands.

  4. Looks like both the Mclaren and the Mercedes are doing pretty well at this circuit. Also Alonso looking really quick, and the Lotus guys too. Not sure about Redbull, they seem to need more time to adapt their car to the circuit and weather .. so far they seem to be off the pace. This could be a very hard weekend for them, if both Alonso and Hamilton can extend their lead in the WDC.

    1. I think Redbull, Mclaren, Lotus and Alonso will all be strong.within a couple of tenths.

      1. Maldonado and Sauber too. We didn’t see Sauber’s true speed in that session.

  5. Haim-eee Algusuari was making reference to the fact that when Pic was stopping on-track he wasn’t pulling off the tarmac even though he seemed to be fore-warned of his stopping. I guess he did learn a little as the session went on – he at least pulled it off the racing line the second time!

    1. I’m not sure there’s much he could have done to be honest, the car clearly just cut out and if he’d gone on the grass he might have got stuck.

  6. Looks like Caterham have not really moved forwards at all. They really must start delivering soon, they’ve promised so much but have delivered so little. Remember last year when they launched their new car and Gascoyne said something along the lines of ‘it looks like a front running car in every way’?

    1. They are moving forward with every race.Expect them to be a part of the midfield by the end of the season.

      1. No, this they said was their major upgrade, and based on this practice session they’re no closer than they have been.

        1. @tflb1 – You want to judge the worth of their upgrade based on one hour of running? Don’t forget, the teams lost a lot of time yesterday to the rain. They’ve all had to condense four-hour testing programmes into one hour of running. While the third practice session is usually representative of race pace, that is not the case here, because it is more important that the teams complete their programmes than setting quick laps.

    2. @tfb1- Look mate,the CT01 is definitely moving forward. They are bringing update in every race but thats a gradual process. With them every team is moving a step ahead with the upgrades. I mean look at this years grid,its massive massively competitive. Teams are fighting for every tenths of secs,hence its difficult to fight for them with the more established team ahead of them. But I guess sooner or later they will come to a conclusion of being in the mid-field pack and I am equally hopeful for the Marussia’s,even they did bring a bigger package here so we need to give them some time.They are definitely moving step by step in every race. :)

    3. Himmat Singh.
      7th July 2012, 12:59

      Come on mate. Heikki was within 2.2% of Alonso’s time. Caterham has been on average within 3% of the fastest car this year. Last year it was 5%. Before that 7%. Definite improvement. Just that it isn’t noticeable because the field is so close between the midfield and front-runners.

  7. Good to see Sauber still racking up plenty of laps. Hopefully they will be sufficiently covered both all eventualities with the weather. Really hoping they have a good weekend!

  8. The weather has got a few teams to break the curfew last night. Marussia, McLaren and Caterham broke curfew last night.

    Whereas, Pirelli will test it’s new hard compound in Germany after wash-out yesterday.

  9. It’s a foolish person who predicts pole with any certainty, as there are at least six drivers who can all claim to have a good shot, probably more if it’s wet. Qualifying will be EPIC!

    1. Yeah, we all thought the same thing about qualifying in Valencia, until the final sixty seconds or so.

  10. Even if it stays dry qualifying’s going to be very interesting. There’s 5 or 6 teams that looked quick this morning, though there’s a thought at the back of mind I’m trying to suppress that Vettel will come out at the end of q3 and take pole by half a second.
    If it rains however, qualifying could be epic, and it will depend on who copes best or comes out at the right time.

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