Button, Maldonado set friday practice times in Germany

HOCKENHEIM, Germany- Following the past couple of races when things just have not gone right, Jenson Button and Pastor Maldonado led the fastest times in Friday practices respectively on a wet track for Sunday’s Grand Prix of Germany at the Hockenheimring.

The opening session produced more of a drier track then later in the afternoon. Button took full advantage of this, and stormed to the top of the timesheets with a best 1:16:595 in his upgraded MP4-27 McLaren machine. The weather could not get better as the session continued, but with only 15 minutes left on the track, many drivers got closer to Button’s time, as the track suddenly dried out. Button’s teammate, Lewis Hamilton, was in second, with series leader Fernando Alonso finishing in third.

However, as the second session got underway, so did the rain as the track began to slow down all the cars eager to get out and improve on their set ups. The conditions were on and off again and there was only a five minute gap for the drivers to enable their DRS systems that could only get the best results because the track began to dry. With the rain returning towards the end of the session, Maldonado could only set a time of 1:27:476, much slower than Button, who experienced better conditions earlier in the day.

The rain began to fall even heavier towards the end of the session, and many of the drivers felt it was a waste of time to continue, being satisfied with their results.

But not everyone was not happy with staying in the garage and waiting out the storm. Jean- Eric Vergne took his Toro Rosso out and considering he did a poor lap of 1:39:843, it got the ball rolling for other drivers. But just as everyone was going to go out onto the track with slicks, the rain returned again and stopped everyone’s progress. Michael Schumacher received the worst of it, spinning his Mercedes into the tire wall.

After Maldonado, Germans Nico Rosberg and Sebastian Vettel were second and third respectively in the session, but Rosberg’s good fortune suddenly went bad when the Mercedes driver was hit with a five grid penalty after repairing his gearbox. Another five grid setback went to Lotus driver Romain Grosjean, who had his gearbox changed at the last race and will have to suffer the same circumstances on this track.

Mark Gero

A 12 year veteran writer who has covered race weekends for RIS for three years. Also did the same for motorsport.com.For the last two years, I have been a member of AARWBA.

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Volume 2012, Issue 7, Posted 7:03 PM, 07.20.2012