Spa Practice 1: Kobayashi tops as rain spoils first session in Belgium
31 August, 2012
Aug.31 (GP247) After 33 days of waiting, Formula One action got underway again at Spa-Francorchamps for the first practice session of the Belgian Grand Prix weekend, and it bucketed down with rain almost as if nature was spiting the teams, drivers and fans on the opening day of the second half of the season.
In the end it was Kamui Kobayashi in the Sauber who topped the timing screens when the chequered flag came down after the ninety minutes, which saw very little running as conditions were only good for extreme wet tyres, which would be a risky exercise, and too wet for intermediates.
Kobayashi racked up 20 laps, more than anyone else in the session, on route to setting his best time of 2 minutes 11.389 seconds.
Next up was Pastor Maldonado in the Williams, then the Toro Rosso pair of Daniel Ricciardo and Jean Eric Vergne third and fourth respectively with Mark Webber in the Red Bull rounding out the top five and best of the championship contenders.
Most of the top guns opted to do limited runs in conditions which are expected to improve as the weekend develops, but at Spa weather prediction is a gamble more than anything else.
The opening session was expected to be a busy one, had the rain stayed away, as teams were ready to roll out a host of tweaks and innovations as part of the ongoing development of their cars, but these were kept under wraps due to risk of damage, and true assessment was impossible under the prevaling conditions.
Considering the conditions, there were hardly any incidents although Michael Schumacher, competing in his 300th grand prix weekend, had a ‘hairy’ high speed moment at the legendary Eau Rouge.
Neither of the Ferrari drivers appeared concerned with going out, with championship leader Fernando Alonso completing a mere four laps while team mate Felipe Massa had two tours to his credit, but his session came to an end when he parked his smoking Ferrari within sight of the pitlane.
The mood was similar in the McLaren camp with Lewis Hamilton and Jenson Button completing a mere 13 laps between them.
Subbed by AJN.
Belgian Grand Prix, Free Practice 1 – Friday, 31 August 2012
|5||2||Mark Webber||Red Bull Racing-Renault||2:13.191||1.802||13|
|9||1||Sebastian Vettel||Red Bull Racing-Renault||2:14.860||3.471||12|
|11||11||Paul di Resta||Force India-Mercedes||2:15.812||4.423||11|
|13||12||Nico Hulkenberg||Force India-Mercedes||2:16.786||5.397||10|
|19||22||Pedro de la Rosa||HRT-Cosworth||2:19.546||8.157||12|
|24||6||Felipe Massa||Ferrari||No time||2|
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- Pirelli reports from the Belgian Grand Prix
- Renault reports from the Belgian GP