Kobayashi heads wet first practice session at Spa

2012 Belgian Grand Prix first practice

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Kamui 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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Image © Sauber F1 Team

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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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16 comments on “Kobayashi heads wet first practice session at Spa”

  1. Somehow I am starting to hate these wet sessions, be it practice, quali or race :(

    1. After 5 weeks waiting, I was surprised to see myself looking around and not giving any attention to F1 between 20′ and 45′ Hopefully a bit of action at the end to make it for the session but yet, that’s not the real F1 yet …
      Let’s hope it will stop raining for this afternoon but that’s not sure yet, and that’s Belgium

    2. With a predictable championship (as we had not so far in the past) the rain will add excitement with unpredictability and a chance of a surprise result, but in the case of an already unpredictable championship and changing relative performances of all teams at all races, the rain will only add a second layer on top of that, making it frustrating to try and get a clear picture of who’s better, who’s worse. I think that halfway through the season, a lot of people would like to get an idea of how things might turn out by the end of the season, but with a wet session after a summer break, you can’t get any meaningful information in that regard.

      1. Exactly what I meant..so dear Rain GOD, no more here please, both the championships already pretty much unpredictable, now please give us a chance to get some idea about the performance advantage/disadvantages of the teams.

  2. No more rain spoiled practices!! It’s interesting to hear that Marussia also bring Double DRS update. It is said that if there’s dry practice, they will test it.

    1. They need to sort the aero out on the rest of their car before flapping around with double DRS

  3. Don’t know how much the weather is going to change in next 2/3 hours, but can we expect a dry session in FP2?

    1. I’m 40 km away from Spa and it has been dry for 1h30 but that doesn’t mean much as rain can be very local here in Belgium and very difficult to predict, so I’m not sure anyone really knows how will be FP2 until few minutes before FP2 … Have to wait and see, again

    2. Commentators on MTV3 said that rain is expected to fall for the rest of the day, and should be even heavier than in FP1.

  4. Its odd that Mclaren, who have admitted themselves that they are struggling in the wet this year, did so few laps in practice. Surely that’s what practice is for?

    1. I would think so, but maybe they rely on the forecast which says dry Qualy and Race.
      Still, with testing ban, I think the Laps in wet could help later in the year?

    2. Think its too much rain, they would not race in these conditions so no need to gather data.

      1. Hmmm, wasn’t too much rain for all the other drivers. Kobayashi put in 20 laps in the morning, no problem. It was only at the end of the session where it started getting a bit iffy. I’ve noticed the “top” teams don’t like to do much running at all in wet practice sessions though. Notice Alonso prefers to sit in his leather throne than go out and it doesn’t appear to effect his performance.

    3. Saving tyres > everything else

      1. @kodongo There is no more rain expected this weekend so this is nothing to do with saving tyres. This is purely a case of them having too little useful information to gain and too much to lose if they have a crash.

  5. Does this mean that Massa will have to use 3 engines in total this weekend? I know you’re not allowed to use the same engine from FP for quali and the race and obviously they will have to replace the one that’s just blown.

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