McLaren one-two in first Hungarian practice
27 July 2012 – Lewis Hamilton and McLaren started as they meant to continue in Hungary on Friday, heading Jenson Button for a one-two finish in first practice. In a warm and dry session, Lotus was able to make the most of its new Super DRS as Fernando Alonso, Nico Rosberg and Romain Grosjean completed the top five runners.
Following the rain of Silverstone and Hockenheim, this morning marked the first dry FP1 session since Valencia five weeks ago. There was little to go by in the way of incident, but plenty of happenings occurred around the pit lane. The London Olympic Games were one talking point, with the FIA and torque maps being another; the governing body has now released a rule clarification following the Red Bull controversy of Germany last weekend.
The McLaren was visibly updated further, following on from the developments of Hockenheim. This time, the most obvious enhancements were slots in the sidepods of Hamilton and Button, helping the former to his best effort of 1:22.821 which edged out his team-mate by one tenth of a second. Championship leader Alonso was inside the top trio, but half a second down on the leading time; how much of this difference will translate to qualifying remains to be seen, as car setups are yet to be fine-tuned.
The hordes of Finnish fans watching from the grandstands saw Kimi Räikkönen running at reduced speeds in order to properly try out the new system which helps stall the car’s rear wing. Towards the end of the session, a radio message was broadcast from Race Engineer Mark Slade which confirmed that the accessory was operating correctly.
On the other hand, Britain’s Paul di Resta was struggling to get to grips with his car in the final three corners; curiously, the Scot eluded to rear blowing, suggesting that Force India has also modified its engine maps and exhaust settings in-line with the latest FIA communiqué. The single incident came at 11 o’clock, as Pastor Maldonado avoided Heikki Kovalainen at Turn 10, taking a trip through the gravel trap in the process. There was also trouble in the pit lane as Pedro de la Rosa’s HRT stopped with heavily smoking brakes.
Conditions are set to remain dry on Saturday, but there is a genuine chance of scattered thunderstorms for race day. This afternoon’s second practice session – expected to witness track temperatures in the early 40s - will also last for 90 minutes.
Second practice begins at 2pm local time (BST +1) and can also be tracked through the interactive GPUpdate.net Live Report