Jenson Button, McLaren, Hockenheim, 2012

Button stays on top as rain hits Hockenheim practice

2012 German Grand Prix first practice

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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.DriverCarBest lapGapLaps
13Jenson ButtonMcLaren-Mercedes1’16.59527
24Lewis HamiltonMcLaren-Mercedes1’17.0930.49822
35Fernando AlonsoFerrari1’17.3700.77521
47Michael SchumacherMercedes1’17.3820.78720
515Sergio PerezSauber-Ferrari1’17.4130.81828
612Nico HulkenbergForce India-Mercedes1’17.5991.00417
78Nico RosbergMercedes1’17.9151.32027
86Felipe MassaFerrari1’17.9951.40022
918Pastor MaldonadoWilliams-Renault1’18.0201.42520
1010Romain GrosjeanLotus-Renault1’18.1301.53521
1114Kamui KobayashiSauber-Ferrari1’18.2261.63122
121Sebastian VettelRed Bull-Renault1’18.3391.74421
1319Valtteri BottasWilliams-Renault1’18.4221.82728
1416Daniel RicciardoToro Rosso-Ferrari1’18.7092.11430
159Kimi RaikkonenLotus-Renault1’18.8312.23614
1611Jules BianchiForce India-Mercedes1’18.9722.37721
1717Jean-Eric VergneToro Rosso-Ferrari1’19.0392.44434
1821Vitaly PetrovCaterham-Renault1’19.6743.07924
1920Heikki KovalainenCaterham-Renault1’19.9633.36824
202Mark WebberRed Bull-Renault1’20.1223.52727
2125Charles PicMarussia-Cosworth1’20.1693.57420
2224Timo GlockMarussia-Cosworth1’20.5393.94418
2322Pedro de la RosaHRT-Cosworth1’21.1384.54324
2423Dani ClosHRT-Cosworth1’21.7405.14527

2012 German Grand Prix

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Image ?? McLaren/Hoch Zwei

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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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29 comments on “Button stays on top as rain hits Hockenheim practice”

  1. I think McLaren will be satisfied that they got a couple of good laps in when it was still dry. And so far its looks as if the parts are working, at least not being a disaster.
    Nice to see everyone testing a lot of new bits on track so they can get them finalized before the summer break

    1. @basCB,” backward facing lights” if they manage to bend light around the bodywork the others wont see them for dust ;-p

      1. HaHa, :-)

  2. I know McLaren have brought an aerodynamic upgrade package for Hockenheim, but the first thing I noticed was that the Lucozade sponsorship has been replaced by a Maximuscle decal, another of GSK’s brands. Which is interesting given that rumours of Coca-Cola sponsoring McLaren were debunked over the presence of Lucozade on the car.

    1. Done because GSK have just released Maximuscle in Germany. Makes sense really for them to use the space to promote something relevant. Also suggests that GSK may be prepared to increase their sponsorship involvement if Vodafone really do pull the plug. The Coca-Cola thing was just wishful thinking by fans.

      1. I understood the Coca Cola thing was hitched up several times by Bernie’s pet website, so I guess it was a lot to do with either talking up the worth of F1, which fits too with recent publications from same source about how many of the worlds’ top brands are in F1 (or were, as they included both Toyota and BMW!) or its about fishing for interest from US sponsors towards the complete series and esp. the US races that are coming.

        1. I understood the Coca Cola thing was hitched up several times by Bernie’s pet website, so I guess it was a lot to do with either talking up the worth of F1

          Just because a story – any story, and not just this one – is posted on Bernie’s favourite website, that doesn’t mean that it came from Bernie to fulfil a political agenda.

          1. Sure @prisoner-monkeys, but given the fact that there are hardly any details on any such deal and many reliable sources who have clear indications that no such deal is even being talked about on the cola thing points to another background then good journalism for them.

      2. The Coca-Cola thing was just wishful thinking by fans.

        It looked more like spurious reporting to me.

        1. Probably a bit of both. Speculative reporting by the media, picked up on by eager fans who liked the sound of it.

  3. Has Button found the sweet spot?? Fingers crossed !

    1. Like he did in FP sessions in Valencia and Monaco.

  4. As long as Vettel isn’t taking points away from Mark, I will be happy with the outcome of this weekend. ;-)

    1. What is that?

    2. Custom made air intake restrictor plate?

  5. Pretty much expected that from McLaren but the rain has skewed it a little bit. Let’s see what the afternoon brings.

    Looking forward to pics of the E20!

    1. here you go then, thanks to Sutton images

  6. Can’t read anything into this, Buttons lap was set early before the rain, no one really pushed for the entire session either.

    By the way, SKYSPORTS F1 is free to all sky/virgin customers this weekend.

    1. It was in the forum and round-up a few days ago:

      UK Sky and Virgin customers can watch German GP at no extra cost

    2. Typical. The one chance I get to see what Sky Sports is like, and I’m not around to watch it. :(

      1. @chalky You’re not missing much – FP2 is underway at the moment and heavy rain is keeping anyone from running:

        http://www.f1fanatic.co.uk/f1-information/f1-live/f1-fanatic-live-2012-german-grand-prix-practice/

  7. @keithcollantine, should that have “driver” in there “…the Toro Rosso amazingly…”?

    Shame for Bottas, but gladly he didn’t give the engineers too much work, and I guess it’s an inevitable learning experience when you start pushing too eagerly.

    1. Got it, thanks.

    2. Apparently they replaced “everything from the engine backwards” on Bruno’s car, so I’d call that a good bit of work.

      1. @leucocrystal, sounds worse than it is.

  8. No more rain!!

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