Jenson Button, McLaren, Suzuka, 2012

McLaren lead the way in first practice

2012 Japanese Grand Prix first practice

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Jenson Button, McLaren, Suzuka, 2012The two McLaren drivers were quickest in the first practice session at Suzuka.

Lewis Hamilton was the first driver to set a timed lap and headed the times sheets early in the session. Several drivers came close to beating his effort and Mark Webber eventually did, edging the McLaren by five hundredths of a second.

The other McLaren of Jenson Button left it until later in the session before setting his first time. A 1’34.507 put him on top. Hamilton improved shortly afterwards to put McLaren first and second in the times.

Webber ended the session third-quickest following by Nico Rosberg. The Mercedes driver pulled to a stop in the Esses moments before the end of the session with an apparent technical problem.

Michael Schumacher moved up to fifth late in the session, making it four Mercedes-powered cars in the top five.

Both Sauber drivers near lost control of their cars during the session. Kamui Kobayashi, sixth, had a moment of oversteer at the exit of Spoon Curve while Sergio Perez, 12th, got onto the run-off at 130R.

Felipe Massa was fastest for Ferrari in seventh, followed by the Force India pair and Pastor Maldonado.

Giedo van der Garde made his second appearance in an F1 practice session for Caterham and ended the session 23rd, over a second off team mate Vitaly Petrov.

Pos.No.DriverCarBest lapGapLaps
13Jenson ButtonMcLaren-Mercedes1’34.50720
24Lewis HamiltonMcLaren-Mercedes1’34.7400.23326
32Mark WebberRed Bull-Renault1’34.8560.34924
48Nico RosbergMercedes1’35.0590.55218
57Michael SchumacherMercedes1’35.1220.61520
614Kamui KobayashiSauber-Ferrari1’35.1990.69227
76Felipe MassaFerrari1’35.2830.77624
811Paul di RestaForce India-Mercedes1’35.2990.79218
912Nico HulkenbergForce India-Mercedes1’35.4740.96722
1018Pastor MaldonadoWilliams-Renault1’35.4780.97124
115Fernando AlonsoFerrari1’35.4840.97726
1215Sergio PerezSauber-Ferrari1’35.5841.07724
139Kimi RaikkonenLotus-Renault1’35.6911.18422
1410Romain GrosjeanLotus-Renault1’35.7241.21721
1516Daniel RicciardoToro Rosso-Ferrari1’36.1231.61619
1617Jean-Eric VergneToro Rosso-Ferrari1’36.2221.71525
171Sebastian VettelRed Bull-Renault1’36.3661.85923
1819Valtteri BottasWilliams-Renault1’36.3891.88224
1924Timo GlockMarussia-Cosworth1’37.7163.20917
2021Vitaly PetrovCaterham-Renault1’38.2953.78823
2125Charles PicMarussia-Cosworth1’38.6164.10925
2223Narain KarthikeyanHRT-Cosworth1’39.0434.53625
2320Giedo van der GardeCaterham-Renault1’39.3744.86722
2422Pedro de la RosaHRT-Cosworth1’39.6885.18119

2012 Japanese Grand Prix

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Image ?? McLaren/Hoch Zwei

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Keith Collantine
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21 comments on “McLaren lead the way in first practice”

  1. yet it’s just a practice, Mclaren looks good. Ferrari doesn’t. Revival of Mercedes?

    1. @eggry Let’s wait until FP2 to see any conclusions. I’m not convinced Ferrari is that bad, nor am I convinced that Mercedes is that good.

      In the meantime I’ll be plugging numbers into a spreadsheet and trying to fit a tyre and fuel deg model to it…

      1. @raymondu999 I hope you’re right. at least They should be in front of Mercedes and Lotus to compete with Red Bull and Mclaren. It would be pleasure if they’re 2nd fastest car.

        1. In front of Mercedes I agree. In front of Lotus… not too sure. The Lotus is mighty in quick corners, especially on race pace. As is, for that matter, Sauber/Williams. I could definitely see the Ferrari being 3rd quickest this weekend (behind RBR/McLaren) or perhaps 4th (behind a red herring in one of Lotus/Sauber/Williams

    2. It’s early to make conclusions and although I don’t think Ferrari are a second off the pace, it’s pretty plain to see they won’t be fighting for pole this weekend. Or any weekend after this, I’m presuming.

      Not sure about Mercedes really – they’ve looked good in FP1 before only to disappoint when it matters. I’d love to see Schumi on the podium one last time before he retires (again).

      1. Mercedes looked dominant in Monza’s FP1 as well….besides,the gap from P3-7 appears to be quite small,so a few setup changes could go a long way. And Lotus,for all their much-hyped about double DRS were behind Ferrari this morning. They seem to be falling behind at a dreadful rate…

  2. I want Webber to blitz the field this race.

    1. Don’t think it’ll happen though. This is one of Vettel’s strongest circuits – he’s never been off pole here, and has won it every time he raced here bar last year when he finished 3rd

      1. …and has won it every time he raced here bar last year…

        Well, he’s only raced here 3 times and only won it twice – so only a 66% conversion rate.

        Not really ‘won it every time he’s raced here’ is it?

  3. All Mercedes engines are in the top 10

    1. Yeah and good to see F.I. come on strong in the last handful of races.

      1. Agreed. If fp1 is taken at face value then things are very good for them – much better than I ever anticipated. I think we should look out for Hulkenberg. He’s going to be looking to bounce back from Paul’s result in Singapore. Suzuka is similar to Spa after a fashion, so he could be on for a good showing.

        1. Another race for Kimi behind Force India or Mercedes is they fail to qualify good.

          1. Yeah, I don’t think your handle will come true anymore, unfortunately! If he is to win the title he’ll need victories. And with him failing to do so at Spa (Spa!) all bets are off.

  4. Looks like Narain has picked up his pace really well…he was consistently faster that DLR during the session. Good to see him doing well, hopefully he does a good qualy tomorrow and gets a good break or two during the race.

    1. Lol,its good to see a Narain fan after what he did at Singapore a couple of weeks back. Being ahead of your teammate in FP1 counts for nothing….

    2. DLR was probably asleep at the wheel.

      1. Have to say I agree. I don’t think Pedro is likely to be outqualified at Suzuka. He’s very quick at Suzuka.

    3. @jaymenon10 Out qualifying DLR by .6s doesn’t quite add up to me. Likely that De La Rosa was doing some R&D work?

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