Jenson Button, McLaren, Interlagos, 2012

McLaren remain quickest as Brazil practice ends

2012 Brazilian Grand Prix third practice

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Jenson Button, McLaren, Interlagos, 2012McLaren were quickest for the third practice session in a row at Interlagos – but this time it was Jenson Button who was ahead.

Button, who switched from using a low-downforce rear wing to the higher-downforce version sported by Lewis Hamilton yesterday, led the session early on when the drivers used the hard tyres.

After switching to medium tyres in the final ten minutes Button went quickest again, his final lap just 0.004s faster than his previous best.

A late effort from Sebastian Vettel saw the Red Bull driver finish just 0.057s shy of Button despite not setting a fastest time in any of the three sectors.

The other Red Bulls and McLarens completed the top four ahead of Romain Grosjean. The Force India pair were next, separated by just over a tenth of a second.

Fernando Alonso could only manage eighth as the Ferrari team mates appeared to practice running in the slipstream of each other at the exit of the final corner. Pastor Maldonado and Felipe Massa also made it into the top ten.

Kimi Raikkonen’s session came to an end as he began his first flying lap. A cloud of smoke appeared behind the Lotus and he quickly pulled to a stop. An engine problem spoiled his run during first practice as well.

Michael Schumacher was the first driver to set a time on the medium compound tyres but had to back off coming out of Juncao when Bruno Senna spun in front of him, the Mercedes narrowly missing the Williams.

Pos.No.DriverCarBest lapGapLaps
13Jenson ButtonMcLaren-Mercedes1’13.18822
21Sebastian VettelRed Bull-Renault1’13.2450.05721
32Mark WebberRed Bull-Renault1’13.3850.19725
44Lewis HamiltonMcLaren-Mercedes1’13.3890.20117
510Romain GrosjeanLotus-Renault1’13.4200.23224
611Paul di RestaForce India-Mercedes1’13.4860.29821
712Nico HulkenbergForce India-Mercedes1’13.6020.41422
85Fernando AlonsoFerrari1’13.6910.50315
918Pastor MaldonadoWilliams-Renault1’13.7000.51220
106Felipe MassaFerrari1’13.7120.52417
1119Bruno SennaWilliams-Renault1’13.9480.76020
128Nico RosbergMercedes1’14.1260.93824
1315Sergio PerezSauber-Ferrari1’14.1901.00226
1414Kamui KobayashiSauber-Ferrari1’14.1921.00421
157Michael SchumacherMercedes1’14.3471.15924
1616Daniel RicciardoToro Rosso-Ferrari1’14.6871.49921
1717Jean-Eric VergneToro Rosso-Ferrari1’14.9721.78419
1821Vitaly PetrovCaterham-Renault1’15.1591.97122
1920Heikki KovalainenCaterham-Renault1’15.7072.51921
2024Timo GlockMarussia-Cosworth1’15.7632.57524
2125Charles PicMarussia-Cosworth1’16.0592.87121
2222Pedro de la RosaHRT-Cosworth1’16.1983.01015
2323Narain KarthikeyanHRT-Cosworth1’16.7933.60518
249Kimi RaikkonenLotus-RenaultNo time3

Combined practice times

PosDriverCarFP1FP2FP3Fri/Sat diffTotal laps
1Jenson ButtonMcLaren-Mercedes1’14.2171’14.8631’13.188-1.02988
2Sebastian VettelRed Bull-Renault1’14.1401’14.3001’13.245-0.89596
3Mark WebberRed Bull-Renault1’14.1981’14.5231’13.385-0.81396
4Lewis HamiltonMcLaren-Mercedes1’14.1311’14.0261’13.389-0.63790
5Romain GrosjeanLotus-Renault1’14.7191’14.9941’13.420-1.29994
6Paul di RestaForce India-Mercedes1’14.7381’15.1291’13.486-1.25294
7Nico HulkenbergForce India-Mercedes1’15.0501’15.1311’13.602-1.44894
8Fernando AlonsoFerrari1’14.3921’14.5921’13.691-0.70180
9Pastor MaldonadoWilliams-Renault1’15.0151’15.9531’13.700-1.315104
10Felipe MassaFerrari1’14.7161’14.5531’13.712-0.84183
11Bruno SennaWilliams-Renault1’15.4321’13.948-1.48465
12Nico RosbergMercedes1’16.3151’14.6691’14.126-0.543100
13Sergio PerezSauber-Ferrari1’15.3961’15.5421’14.190-1.20693
14Kamui KobayashiSauber-Ferrari1’15.2551’15.8391’14.192-1.06395
15Michael SchumacherMercedes1’15.1141’14.6541’14.347-0.30796
16Daniel RicciardoToro Rosso-Ferrari1’15.5871’15.9021’14.687-0.995
17Jean-Eric VergneToro Rosso-Ferrari1’16.0481’16.0481’14.972-1.07694
18Vitaly PetrovCaterham-Renault1’16.6171’16.1261’15.159-0.96791
19Kimi RaikkonenLotus-Renault1’15.7011’15.37158
20Valtteri BottasWilliams-Renault1’15.41323
21Heikki KovalainenCaterham-Renault1’16.6551’15.707-0.94863
22Timo GlockMarussia-Cosworth1’16.5061’17.6751’15.763-0.74397
23Charles PicMarussia-Cosworth1’17.2341’18.1271’16.059-1.17578
24Pedro de la RosaHRT-Cosworth1’17.6781’17.2441’16.198-1.04645
25Giedo van der GardeCaterham-Renault1’16.46032
26Narain KarthikeyanHRT-Cosworth1’17.8951’18.1391’16.793-1.10246

2012 Brazilian 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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24 comments on “McLaren remain quickest as Brazil practice ends”

  1. Well that was more tense than most qualifying sessions, really difficult to predict pole now.

    1. I think it’ll be between Button, Vettel and Hamilton

  2. This seems bad for Ferrari. They’re certainly hit by low temperature.

    1. The only consolation for them was Raikkonen having more trouble which may aid them in qualifying. But on these times it looks like they need to think about slipstreaming just to ensure they get into Q3, never mind further up the grid.

      It’s a bit of a weather lottery this weekend. The high heat seen yesterday seemed to help them. Rain should. But in these more normal conditions it appears to be business as usual for them.

      Curious also that Mercedes have slipped back so far since yesterday.

  3. Do the raindance !

  4. I get the impression that Ferrari are sand bagging a little, and are perhaps leaning towards a wet set up for qualifying. Interesting they practiced the towing manouvere several times, but more interestingly with Massa being on the beneficiary end of it.

    This could be the qualifying session of the year, genuinely difficult to call. Expect to see Red Bull, Ferrari and Mclaren in the top 10, but the order is far from clear.

    1. @jamesf1 I don’t agree, and not just because I think the idea of teams “sandbagging” is usually not the case – they’re too busy trying to find out how fast their car can go to disguise how quick it is, particularly now we’re no longer in the days of infinite testing.

      Looking at the comparison times from yesterday, Ferrari have picked up about as much times as Red Bull and McLaren have. The problem for Ferrari is Force India and Lotus – two teams who particularly struggled in the heat yesterday – have found more time in today’s cooler conditions.

      1. That’s true. But this weekend appears to be all about mind games between Red Bull and Ferrari. They’ve each given the other little bits to keep them busy and attempt to rattle their cage.

        Alonso did appear a little dejected after the session ended, so who knows. If anyone will be hoping for rain it’ll be him. All eyes will be on the clouds in the next couple of hours. I cant wait.

        1. @jamesf1 I don’t think he would be hoping for rain. Two reasons for that:
          1. Vettel is a good driver in wet conditions and he would qualify in the top 3 today unless something dramatic happens!
          2. In cooler conditions as aforementioned by @keithcollantine the midfield cars can pose a problem for Ferrari ( we can’t take drivers like Hulk for granted)!
          Let’s hope for a proper race minus natural tendencies and hope the best man win( by the way gunning for Fernando Alonso)!!

    2. they could benefit from being higher up in qualifying as well, not to mention a better position would mean a clear visor during the start of the race, if it rains that time.

      let’s hope this last race is decided by the drivers abilities and not by the so called “luck”

  5. A late effort from Sebastian Vettel saw the Red Bull driver finish just 0.057s shy of Button despite not setting a fastest time in any of the three sectors.

    Good for Seb. I mean, he might not be the first in the sectors but looks consistent in all of them. A couple of tweaks for his car can help him to be first on qualifying.
    In other news, Alonso needs a miracle or a nutcase hittting Vettel.

  6. How on earth could Button find 1 sec from that car that Hamilton couldn’t?

    1. Because Button is no slouch in the car, when he hooks up the car nicely, he can be just as good as Hamilton. Both are quality drivers, who I think will be a force to be reckoned with this weekend. Providing they can both finish of course.

      1. when he hooks up the car nicely

        ain’t that the problem with guys wile Button, Webber, Massa, even schumacher!

        They have shown that they can be fast, can win races and can overtake…..but not at each available opportunity. The time they take to warm up to their best is either too long that they fail to get their setup in time for qualy/race or too late into the race.

        Contrast that with drivers like hamilton, raikkonen, alonso, kubica, even grosjean if he finds some maturity…..they can start the attack from the GO, and that’s what makes them team leaders.

        Macca are going to have two half-boiled eggs for most of 2013…cant fancy them enjoying their omelet!

    2. Because he is great driver?

    3. Did he use a different wing or setup ? Also is it possible to try out wet setup in practice just to check and compare lap times and relatively try to understand how one would fare when it would rain later ?

      1. @hamilfan @hari Button switched from a low-downforce wing to the high-downforce one Hamilton was running on Friday, as on comparison it was deemed to be faster (which was proven today by Button’s increase in pace). Also, it should help switching to the high-downforce wing if it is to rain.

    4. Friday he drove with a low downforce setup, which he later said did not work well. Today he is probably using the same setup as lewis.

      1. Yeah, I heard that in the practice commentary. Today he’s gone for the high downforce set-up, still 1 sec is an impressive improvement.

        1. maybe we have all conveniently underestimated button :P

    5. i think it’s that this track suits JB. The flowing nature of the track might be better for his driving style than the usual tilke-mania.

  7. Why can’t some of you Lewis fans accept that Jenson can match Lewis in terms of speed when his car is right. Lewis is consistantly fast and reckoned to be the fastest driver out there but you have to wonder what the outcome would be if Jenson could be consistant.

    1. @sonia54 I don’t think too many people are arguing it! Plus, consistency is far more important than speed.

  8. why Ferrariis running a low downforce setup in Alonso’s car?…it’s guaranteed 100% that you will lose…why they are doing this…this can work for Monza or spa…but not in this type of circuit…i have being shocked that they since 3 races are doing this in Alonso’s car…and the unbelievable fact is that 3 race in a row AAlonso is slower than Massa with a higher downforce set up and they still continue to run it.
    They are completely wrong…as a Ferrari fan i’m completely disappointed…maybe they are trying desperately something, but now it’s too late to experiment solutions…the facts tell that the high downforce setup is better as the Massa speed tells…but they continue to run in Alonso’s car the wrong set up…unbelievable…unbelievable
    the reason are two:
    1) they are completely lost, and have lost any sense of orientation
    2) Alonso should not win this championship, and ferrari are doing their job…

    I’m sorry for fernando i’m not his fan but i consider him the best driver in the grid that now have a poor support from the team.

    I think it’s over for domenicali, fry, tombazis…they have failed,they have lost the battle for the 4th year in a row.
    It’s time for Ferrari to change people, they have money but they haven’t people that knows how to use these money, Red Bull have them. from 1996 it’s the first time that i’m against the team that i love.
    However the race goes and even if Alonso win with some luck i will not change my opinion, they have lost the battle…it’s time for Montezemolo to take radical decisions.

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