Hamilton fastest as rain falls in Hungary
27 July 2012 – Lewis Hamilton remained quickest as rain affected proceedings in Hungary on Friday afternoon. The McLaren driver, managing a lap time on Slicks during a dry period, led Kimi Räikkönen’s Lotus and Bruno Senna’s Williams. Navigating a wet track on Intermediate tyres, Michael Schumacher crashed for the second time within a week.
McLaren had already set the pace once at the Hungaroring today, with Hamilton having led Jenson Button in a morning one-two. This afternoon, a Formula 1 Friday was broken up by rain for the third time in as many race weekends, with track temperatures sinking by 20 degrees to low of just 27°C (81°F).
Romain Grosjean was one of the first men on-track but, just after posting the quickest time, spun and the chicane and broke his front wing. Working on the sister Lotus, Räikkönen’s crew removed the new rear wing stalling device which the Finn had tried out in Practice 1, allowing for a different programme. The Soft compound tyres were wheeled out, but the rain began to fall at quarter to three.
Initially, the drops were of a low intensity, only for the circuit – located adjacent to a water park and on the outskirts of Budapest – to soon be engulfed by a significant shower. Toro Rosso’s Jean-Éric Vergne was the first to venture out on Wet tyres, with some drivers electing to try the green-marked Intermediates. One of those was Schumacher, but the choice soon turned out to be very much wrong as the seven-time Champion aquaplaned into the barriers at Turn 12; this marked his second accident in seven days, having made a driver error and spun into the wall at Hockenheim last week.
There was a small drama for McLaren, which meant Button’s car had to be pushed back into its garage from the end of the pit lane, but the Woking team is very much threatening to be the one to beat in Hungary. At Red Bull, it remains to be seen as to how much speed the team has lost following an FIA rule clarification on engine mapping, which means the torque settings which were run in Germany are now officially illegal. As the session ended, Mark Webber was seen to look particularly downcast in the back of the garage.
Remaining on the pit wall for the closing minutes, Hamilton remained quickest from Räikkönen, as Ferrari ended the day fourth and fifth with Felipe Massa and Fernando Alonso. Britain’s Paul di Resta was seventh for Force India, with Sebastian Vettel – who has clinched pole in Hungary for the past two years – rounding out the top eight.
Saturday is expected to be dry in its entirety, although F1 and its support races could be affected by more rain on Sunday as there is a 50 percent chance of thunderstorms.
Final practice, lasting for one hour, begins at 11am local time (BST +1) on Saturday and can be followed through the interactive GPUpdate.net live report