Schumacher leads first Monza practice for Mercedes

2012 Italian Grand Prix first practice

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Amid 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.DriverCarBest lapGapLaps
17Michael SchumacherMercedes1’25.422
23Jenson ButtonMcLaren-Mercedes1’25.7230.301
38Nico RosbergMercedes1’25.7620.340
45Fernando AlonsoFerrari1’25.8000.378
56Felipe MassaFerrari1’25.8810.459
64Lewis HamiltonMcLaren-Mercedes1’25.9440.522
79Kimi RaikkonenLotus-Renault1’26.0460.624
815Sergio PerezSauber-Ferrari1’26.3230.901
92Mark WebberRed Bull-Renault1’26.3900.968
1018Pastor MaldonadoWilliams-Renault1’26.5041.082
111Sebastian VettelRed Bull-Renault1’26.5081.086
1212Nico HulkenbergForce India-Mercedes1’26.5181.096
1319Valtteri BottasWilliams-Renault1’26.6411.219
1414Kamui KobayashiSauber-Ferrari1’26.7461.324
1510Jerome D’AmbrosioLotus-Renault1’27.1801.758
1611Jules BianchiForce India-Mercedes1’27.1921.770
1716Daniel RicciardoToro Rosso-Ferrari1’27.3731.951
1817Jean-Eric VergneToro Rosso-Ferrari1’27.7892.367
1920Heikki KovalainenCaterham-Renault1’27.8552.433
2021Vitaly PetrovCaterham-Renault1’28.5783.156
2125Charles PicMarussia-Cosworth1’28.7513.329
2224Timo GlockMarussia-Cosworth1’29.2073.785
2322Pedro de la RosaHRT-Cosworth1’29.3313.909
2423Ma Qing HuaHRT-Cosworth1’31.2395.817

2012 Italian Grand Prix

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Image © Daimler/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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46 comments on “Schumacher leads first Monza practice for Mercedes”

  1. The result…It seems like the performance order of engines.

    1. @eggry We might be saying that a lot more in 2014.

    2. Yes but wasn’t Williams able to top the speed traps on SPA, i thought that the differences weren’t really that meaningful but this proves otherwise.

    3. Yeah, like Force India being up,,, or Sau…. oh…

      I think it’s more of a reflection of each teams goals for the race.

  2. Ma Qing Hua didn’t look so terrible, to be honest. Slow but not as dramatic as Karthikeyan either.

    Those Mercs look mighty fast at the moment. We’ll see how that pans out until quali. And it looks as though Button is on a roll.

    If D’Ambrosio and the Saubers up their pace to get into contention for the top ten at least, it should make for a VERY interesting weekend.

    1. Maybe Ross Brawn decided to improve the cars for this weekend to lure Hamilton over to them!

    2. If I remember correctly, in qualifying for Spa Karthikeyan was around 2 seconds slower than de la Rosa, so Ma being 1.9s slower is actually good.

      1. JimmyTheIllustratedBlindSolidSilverBeachStackapopolis III
        7th September 2012, 12:24

        if he was that’s a blip narain has been more like 0.3-1.1 behind pedro.

        1. Also consider that Spa is a significantly longer track than Monza.

  3. Are the retirements of both Pastor & Alonso will be considered as “FORCE MAJEURE” ??

    1. Why should it be?

    2. what does that mean?

    3. @tifoso1989

      31.7 Any driver taking part in any practice session who, in the opinion of the stewards, stops unnecessarily on the circuit or unnecessarily impedes another driver shall be subject to the penalties referred to in Article 31.6.

      31.6 In the event of a driving infringement during any practice session the Stewards may drop the driver such number of grid positions as they consider appropriate.

      It is not mandatory for the stewarts to even investigate, nor handing out a penatly, even if they do, their decision is not subject to appeal.

      Force majeure means something like unavoidable accident and teams sometimes referring to it when they break the rules. Last time in Spain Hamilton stopped the car on track in a Qualifying PRACTISE session, and the team wanted to use the term force majeure, but the stewards didnt gave in, so Hamilton had to start the race from the back of the grid.

      1. @tifoso1989 – I didn’t see anything to suggest either stoppage was unnecessary. Maldonado’s DRS flap was wide open when he pulled the car over, so he clearly had a problem. And I see no reason why Ferrari would risk a grid penalty for force majeure at their home race. It would be a national scandal if they did.

      2. Cheers :-)
        On a side note, I hope D’Ambrosio does well. Would be interesting if he out qualified Kimi :-0 ….

    4. Article says they stopped “with apparent technical problems” so it is Force Majeure and they won’t get penalized.

    5. They won’t get penalised. Another grid drop for Maldonado would have been absolutely hilarious though…

    6. interesting question.

  4. Good to see Ma Qing Hua managing to set a time and a respectable one at that. Hopefully we’ll get to see him again so we can keep an eye on him.

    1. Yeah, I was expecting him to be slow, but I wasn’t expecting him to be within two seconds of de la Rosa. And his last lap was looking pretty good, too.

    2. I thought it was interesting what Anthony Davidson said in Practice about ‘How long will it be before we have a full Chinese F1 team in the paddock’ Whatever form a Chinese team may take, it would be sure to have limitless resources. Might be quite interesting if a new team came a long that did well… after all, Red Bull certainly up-ended the McLaren/Ferrari days of the 2000’s!

      1. That money might be useless if the FIA force some kind of resource restriction by rules.

        1. Trust me, they’d find a way around it.

          1. Might have to start drug testing their fuel!!! LoL

          2. @vho
            They’re doing it now, thats why they have to have at leas one litre fuel in the tank after each session. They test the drivers too.

      2. I thought it was interesting what Anthony Davidson said in Practice about ‘How long will it be before we have a full Chinese F1 team in the paddock’

        I think it is inevitable that a Chinese team will join Formula 1 at some point – or, at the very least, we will see a Chinese-owned team competing under a Chinese racing licence. And I suspect that Ma’s involvement in HRT might be the first step towards that eventuality. The team has already indicated a willingness to change their name and identity in the quest to find new investors, which makes sense given that “HRT” stands for “Hispania Racing Team”, which is derived from Groupo Hispania, who in turn have no more involvement in the running of the team. Ma was plucked from relative obscurity to join HRT’s “driver development programme”, which was seemingly created so that Ma could join the team. And when they ran at Silverstone in the first round of the Young Driver Tests, they elected not to participate on the second day, which suggests that they were only there so that Ma could get his superlicence.

      3. Never amounted to anything for Toyota did it? Endless resources mean nothing without the proper personnel.

        1. @brakius

          A 2nd place in Singapore is nothing to sweep under the rug! The problem Toyota had WAS resources, that is why they pulled out. It was the same with Honda. The teams didnt have the financial backing from the manufacturers to continue. At least that was my understanding of the sitiation.

          1. @nick-uk
            Yes, but before the financial crash they were spending more than anyone else, and had very little to say for it. Getting to the front is first about personnel, then about resources.

          2. @george Indeed, Brawn GP springs to mind. They may have had the car designed throughout 2008 but they scraped through 2009, Button using only one chassis from the shakedown in Silverstone to the flag in Abu Dhabi, and won both championships.

      4. @nick-uk @prisoner-monkeys Something tells me that if they did enter the international motorsport stage with F1 they wouldn’t do things by halves. Look at their Olympic and Paralympic campaign. I’m not saying they would have instant success but I expect that if it was government back in some way that they would most definitely recruit some top names and eventually some success to go with it.

        1. @andrewtanner I don’t think they would recruit anyone ‘top’. They would simply engineer a robotic ‘Super Newey’.

          1. @nick-uk Probably put the entire tech team on steroids.

    3. Yes, he was inside the 107% time by two tenths I think.

    4. like to see him getting a full seat in F1 next year maybe replacing Narain

      1. Consistency is key and we have no measure of that at the moment. If he did fair up better than Narain then that would be great. He will bring money and hopefully better results.

  5. Amid 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.

    It just got even more itneresting, because during FP1, Autosport ran this story, where Ross Brawn talks up the benefits of joining a works in team (or before 2014). He doesn’t specifically mention Hamilton, but he was clearly asked about the possibility of Hamilton moving to Brackley …

    1. Maybe there wasn’t much going on at first, but now everybody (Hamilton, Brawn, Mercedes, XIX, Nicole, Bernie) sees the benefits of having him there and I think it’s becoming more and more realistic.

      I’ve said it in another comment, but I think Mercedes should go for the two biggest (as in recognition) names of current F1: Schumacher and Hamilton. For the brand Mercedes the association with those two strong names is more important than Rosbergs talent.

      When Schumi leaves they can go for Multi-Champ Vettel. Who by that time might be triple champ, so also becoming a household name.

      And for Hamilton? As at says (is implied) in the article: he could be better of at Mercedes than at Mclaren.

      1. @verstappen – I think the smarter move might be to try and get Schumacher’s name on the side of the car as a team owner. Ross Brawn has certainly indicated that a team management role is a distinct possibility for Schumacher if he re-retires. That way, they could have Hamilton in one seat, and try to push for someone like Vettel in the other, and all of it under Schumacher’s name. Even if they can’t have Vettel right away, Rosberg is a strong driver (even if he is a little sensitive to the car’s performance – when the car is good, Rosberg is blindingly quick; when it’s bad, he languishes at the bottom of the midfield).

        I could – and indeed, would probably welcome – Hamiton and Rosberg competing for “MSC Mercedes” in 2013.

        1. “MSC Mercedes” +1

        2. If they did it would probably be a very good move for them, in terms of long term publicity.

  6. Ive read Norbert Haug said today that as long as seats are free there will be rumors. I guess he more or less said with that, Schumi will not be with Mercedes in 2013. Because this whole driver shuffling only can happen if Schumi is leaving. Rosberg should be save. And because Lewis will never be with Alonso in one team, Lotus and Red Bull are set for next year, this can only mean Mercedes for Lewis (if he wants to be in a car that has potential). That would give Schumi the choice, Ferrari (Massa should be gone after this year), McLaren or retirement. I hope its not the latter.

  7. Todd (@braketurnaccelerate)
    7th September 2012, 12:40

    Nice to see the Renaults struggling for speed….


  8. I was so happy to see Schumi start in first for the race. I really hope that next season Mercedes makes their car more competitive so we can see more out of him.

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