Button fastest as rain hits Hockenheim
20 July 2012 – Jenson Button led a McLaren one-two in Friday’s opening practice for the German Grand Prix, but lap times were misleading as four rain showers broke up the session. As McLaren ran a raft of updates, Fernando Alonso finished third for Ferrari. Lotus tested a Mercedes-like Super DRS for the first time this season.
Germany marks a crucial weekend in McLaren’s year, with the Woking team having rolled out new sidepods and a new rear wing amongst several other updated car parts. Button’s leading effort of 1:16.595 came early on in the 90 minutes, which were broken up by several intermittent showers. As a result of the rain, Hamilton – whose own best lap was registered in the closing minutes – was still over four tenths of a second slower.
Kimi Räikkönen posted his best run as the chequered flag came out, but had to slow in the stadium because of yellow flags for reserve driver Valtteri Bottas’ stricken Williams, which had carried too much speed into Sachs Kurve and duly spun off the circuit. This means rivals are yet to witness the full effect of Super DRS for Lotus, which is the first team to run its own version of the system pioneered by Mercedes at the start of the year.
The only other casualty during the session was Timo Glock, one of five Germans in the race this weekend, whose Marussia ground to a halt in the pit lane and was pushed back to its garage by several mechanics. Jean-Éric Vergne narrowly avoided a sizeable accident for Toro Rosso, having narrowly caught a dramatic slide on the exit of the North Kurve.
The field now hopes for an all-dry session this afternoon, not least as several are running significant upgrades or innovative components. Pirelli has brought its experimental Hard compound tyre to Germany but, like at Silverstone two weeks ago, it is not expected to be seriously trialled because of the adverse weather conditions.
The second German Grand Prix practice session starts at 2pm local time (BST +1) and can also be tracked through the interactive GPUpdate.net Live Report