Pastor Maldonado heads wet practice at Hockenheim

By on Friday, July 20, 2012

Pastor Maldonado

Pastor Maldonado has ended a rain struck second practice at the Hockenheimring fastest ahead of this weekend’s German Grand Prix, with inclement weather once again plaguing proceedings. The Mercedes of Nico Rosberg came home a close 2nd, with reigning World Champion Sebastian Vettel 3rd for Red Bull.

The first practice session earlier in the day was hit by intermittent showers, however the second practice session started in torrential conditions reminiscent of Silverstone. Once the session began, no-one seemed overly keen on tiptoeing out into the treacherous conditions. Eventually it was Bruno Senna who became the first driver to leave the pits, with the Cinturato full wet (blue) tyres on his rebuilt Williams after Valtteri Bottas ruined the rear of the car earlier in the day.

As the rain gradually began to subside, many drivers began to take to the track. Jean-Eric Vergne and Nico Rosberg became locked in a battle for supremacy at the top, with the latter eventually setting a 01:39.021. Reigning World Champion Sebastian Vettel then rose to the top, before the likes of Michael Schumacher and Fernando Alonso went faster still.

The times then began to tumble, as the track became suitable for the intermediate (green) tyre. Nico Rosberg quickly rose to the top, as the local hero opted for the green-banded tyre. The Mercedes driver got his time down to a 01:35.833, before Championship leader Alonso went even quicker with a 01:34.593. With the track quickly drying, many drivers began rising to the top as the times gradually got quicker. Both Felipe Massa, Sergio Perez, Daniel Ricciardo, Romain Grosjean, Lewis Hamilton, Kimi Raikkonen and Jenson Button shared the top spot as a dry line began to appear on the track.

With the threat of further rain looming overhead, Pastor Maldonado assumed the top spot with a 01:27.476. As the rain slowly arrived, Red Bull decided to quickly switch Sebastian Vettel onto the dry tyres, only to suddenly change their mind as large drops of rain once again began to fall. The German driver was pushed back into his garage, as Heikki Kovalainen ran wide at turn 12.

HRT’s Pedro de la Rosa suffered a frustrating second practice session, as his mechanics busied themselves around his F112 fixing a brake issue on the car. However, the Spaniard was eventually able to take to the track, albeit remaining in 24th and last position.

Turn 13 once again proved to be a difficult part of the track to negotiate, as Daniel Ricciardo out broke himself and ran straight on into the gravel, bringing a premature end to his second practice session. Michael Schumacher then made a surprisingly big error on the exit of turn 12, as the 7-time World Champion spun in the wall, damaging his Mercedes. This brought out the red flag, as the session came to a close.

With a day of unpleasant conditions at the Hockenheimring, with very little dry running available, the Formula 1 fraternity will be praying for some dry running tomorrow morning as the teams gear up for the all-important qualifying session.

Pos Driver Team Time Laps
 1.  Pastor Maldonado      Williams-Renault      1m27.476             14
 2.  Nico Rosberg          Mercedes              1m27.564s  + 0.088   24
 3.  Sebastian Vettel      Red Bull-Renault      1m27.902s  + 0.426   24
 4.  Sergio Perez          Sauber-Ferrari        1m28.402s  + 0.926   26
 5.  Romain Grosjean       Lotus-Renault         1m28.420s  + 0.944   20
 6.  Nico Hulkenberg       Force India-Mercedes  1m28.495s  + 1.019   22
 7.  Daniel Ricciardo      Toro Rosso-Ferrari    1m28.513s  + 1.037   23
 8.  Jenson Button         McLaren-Mercedes      1m28.516s  + 1.040   16
 9.  Mark Webber           Red Bull-Renault      1m28.877s  + 1.401   21
10.  Kimi Raikkonen        Lotus-Renault         1m29.327s  + 1.851   22
11.  Jean-Eric Vergne      Toro Rosso-Ferrari    1m29.364s  + 1.888   26
12.  Felipe Massa          Ferrari               1m29.719s  + 2.243   15
13.  Kamui Kobayashi       Sauber-Ferrari        1m29.785s  + 2.309   24
14.  Charles Pic           Marussia-Cosworth     1m30.090s  + 2.614   19
15.  Timo Glock            Marussia-Cosworth     1m30.220s  + 2.744   16
16.  Bruno Senna           Williams-Renault      1m30.291s  + 2.815   22
17.  Heikki Kovalainen     Caterham-Renault      1m30.331s  + 2.855   26
18.  Paul di Resta         Force India-Mercedes  1m30.437s  + 2.961   14
19.  Lewis Hamilton        McLaren-Mercedes      1m30.617s  + 3.141   16
20.  Fernando Alonso       Ferrari               1m31.207s  + 3.731   20
21.  Vitaly Petrov         Caterham-Renault      1m32.241s  + 4.765   22
22.  Narain Karthikeyan    HRT-Cosworth          1m32.349s  + 4.873   17
23.  Michael Schumacher    Mercedes              1m32.777s  + 5.301   18
24.  Pedro de la Rosa      HRT-Cosworth          1m42.566s  + 15.090   8

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