Kobayashi tops washed out Spa practice
31 August 2012 – Kamui Kobayashi led the way in Friday’s first practice session for the Belgian Grand Prix. The F1 summer break may have been over, but the track was quiet for much of the 90 minutes due to heavy rain. While most drivers stayed in the pit lane, all avoided accidents as the Sauber led the way from Pastor Maldonado and Daniel Ricciardo.
Formula 1 fans travelled to Spa in the hope of being the first to see 24 cars in action for the first time in five weeks. Unfortunately, umbrellas and plastic bags for shelter made more of an appearance as Mother Nature lashed the track. This was of particular frustration to Valtteri Bottas and Dani Clos, reserve drivers for Williams and HRT whose weekend track time is already limited, and Lotus who are eager to test their Double DRS concept ahead of its race debut on Sunday.
While Toro Rosso was typically keen to gain a feel for the conditions, experienced heads Fernando Alonso and Pedro de la Rosa agreed that it would be pointless to risk their cars under the circumstances. In fact, the championship-leading Ferrari driver was the only man without a lap time to his name when the action ended at half past 11. Atop the timesheets, lap times did begin to decrease but the best effort was still well over the two-minute mark.
Michael Schumacher began his 300th Grand Prix weekend with a new-look platinum helmet and one large moment though Eau Rouge, with Maldonado and Paul di Resta also escaping crashes at the infamous section of race track. No driver met the barriers, but no less than five out-braked themselves and ventured across the run-off area of Les Combes.
In the dying moments, Felipe Massa stopped at the Bus Stop Chicane with a heavily smoking engine, which Ferrari has verified to GPUpdate.net was an old unit. The entire field now hopes for dry running this afternoon, as Saturday’s qualifying session is not expected to be interrupted by rain. Question marks remain over the weather for Sunday.
Practice 2 begins at 2pm local time (BST +1) and can also be tracked though the interactive GPUpdate.net Live Report