Lewis Hamilton fastest in rain struck practice at Budapest

By on Friday, July 27, 2012

Lewis Hamilton has continued to assert his authority over proceedings at the Hungaroring, as the Briton remained fastest throughout a rain struck second practice session ahead of this weekend’s Hungarian Grand Prix. The McLaren driver was followed home in 2nd place by Kimi Raikkonen, with Bruno Senna a close 3rd for Williams.

Whereas the opening session of the weekend earlier in the morning was run in glorious sunshine and swelteringly hot temperatures, the second session was plagued by a heavy rain storm roughly halfway through the 90 minute session. The session started under dry conditions, with the Marussia duo of Timo Glock and Charles Pic taking to the track first.

The two Marussias naturally set the initial pace, before Bruno Senna and Pastor Maldonado went fastest for Williams. As the times gradually got quicker, the likes of Nico Rosberg, Kamui Kobayashi, Romain Grosjean and then Kimi Raikkonen went fastest, with the Finn eventually setting a 01:22.950. Romain Grosjean then made a big error on the exit on turn 7, as the Frenchman spun into wall and destroyed his front wing. Unfortunately for Lotus, Grosjean also suffered minor suspension damage, as his mechanics quickly set to fixing the damage.

The Ferrari pair then went fastest, with Felipe Massa surprising many by going faster than his Championship leading team-mate with a 01:22.831. With a rain shower now on the horizon, many drivers began opting for the softer (yellow) Pirelli compound to try and gather as much imperative knowledge on how the compound would work around the Hungaroring.

Jenson Button flew to the top on the soft tyre compound, setting a 01:22.747. As other drivers quickly opted for a similar tyre strategy, Alonso, Raikkonen and then Hamilton all stormed to the top with the Briton setting a dominant 01:21.995. Very reminiscent of the first practice session, Lewis Hamilton’s time atop the timing sheets would remain unbeaten as the session progressed.

As the rain struck the Hungaroring, Heikki Kovalainen became the first driver to meet the inclement weather’s wrath as the Finn ran straight on at turn 7 due to the increasingly wet track surface. With 40 minutes to go in the session, big rain drops were seen pummeling the asphalt as all the drivers quickly returned to the safe confines of the pits.

Once the rain began to subside, Jean-Eric Vergne became the first driver to take to the wet track on the Cinturato full wet (blue) tyres, whereas Michael Schumacher bravely opted for the intermediate (green) tyres. This proved to be a monumental error for the German, who aquaplaned straight into the tyre barriers at turn 12, with the back of the circuit exceedingly treacherous after the heavy rainfall.

McLaren were at the forefront of what was initially perceived as an embarrassing error, when Jenson Button was sent out only to be frantically stopped halfway down the pit-lane. The Briton’s mechanics then proceeded to roll the McLaren back to their garages, only for Button to once again take to the track shortly after. McLaren stated after the incident that the mechanics thought they noticed an error on the rear wing, hence the precautionary delay to the Briton’s return to the track.

As the session came to a damp conclusion, Lewis Hamilton reigned supreme at the top of the timing sheets, with the 2008 World Champion striving for a decent result after several lackluster performances.

Pos Driver Team Time Laps
 1.  Lewis Hamilton        McLaren-Mercedes      1m21.995            20
 2.  Kimi Raikkonen        Lotus-Renault         1m22.180s  + 0.185  20
 3.  Bruno Senna           Williams-Renault      1m22.253s  + 0.258  33
 4.  Felipe Massa          Ferrari               1m22.417s  + 0.422  28
 5.  Fernando Alonso       Ferrari               1m22.582s  + 0.587  22
 6.  Jenson Button         McLaren-Mercedes      1m22.747s  + 0.752  17
 7.  Paul di Resta         Force India-Mercedes  1m22.794s  + 0.799  23
 8.  Sebastian Vettel      Red Bull-Renault      1m22.824s  + 0.829  18
 9.  Romain Grosjean       Lotus-Renault         1m22.922s  + 0.927  12
10.  Michael Schumacher    Mercedes              1m23.160s  + 1.165  19
11.  Nico Rosberg          Mercedes              1m23.164s  + 1.169  28
12.  Pastor Maldonado      Williams-Renault      1m23.337s  + 1.342  26
13.  Nico Hulkenberg       Force India-Mercedes  1m23.713s  + 1.718  25
14.  Mark Webber           Red Bull-Renault      1m23.814s  + 1.819  17
15.  Kamui Kobayashi       Sauber-Ferrari        1m23.841s  + 1.846  28
16.  Jean-Eric Vergne      Toro Rosso-Ferrari    1m24.328s  + 2.333  23
17.  Daniel Ricciardo      Toro Rosso-Ferrari    1m24.345s  + 2.350  27
18.  Sergio Perez          Sauber-Ferrari        1m24.623s  + 2.628  22
19.  Vitaly Petrov         Caterham-Renault      1m24.823s  + 2.828  28
20.  Heikki Kovalainen     Caterham-Renault      1m25.220s  + 3.225  28
21.  Timo Glock            Marussia-Cosworth     1m27.104s  + 5.109  27
22.  Pedro de la Rosa      HRT-Cosworth          1m27.106s  + 5.111  18
23.  Charles Pic           Marussia-Cosworth     1m27.185s  + 5.190  22
24.  Narain Karthikeyan    HRT-Cosworth          1m27.822s  + 5.827  20

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