Jenson Button and Lewis Hamilton lead at German Grand Prix practice
JENSON Button was fastest and team-mate Lewis Hamilton second as McLaren dominated practice at a wet German Grand Prix yesterday while Michael Schumacher emerged unscathed from an embarrassing crash.
Button and Hamilton both set their times in the morning practice as heavy rain played havoc with the afternoon practice which ended with Schumacher bringing out the red flags. Pastor Maldonado was fastest for Williams in the second session although the Venezuelan was more than 10 seconds behind Button’s time in the first.
Seven-time world champion Schumacher lost control of his car on turn 12 and the vehicle spun out of control across the grass into the barriers in front of the Mercedes stand. Schumacher emerged unscathed but looking decidedly uncomfortable. He then watched the marshals as they lifted his Mercedes onto a crane.
The session ended at that point, although most of the fans had already left the stands by then looking for somewhere drier. “I was not fully concentrated,” admitted Schumacher. “I was on the radio and I was doing some other changes to the car and touched the white line.”
Intermittent showers had also made conditions tricky for the drivers although the rain was nothing on the scale which caused chaos at the British Grand Prix at Silverstone two weeks ago.
Finnish test driver Valtteri Bottas crashed his Williams near the end of the opening session, smashing into the barriers on corner 13 and emerging unscathed to survey the damage. The mechanics were able to repair it in good time to get Brazilian Bruno Senna, the regular race driver, out for the second session.
Button set the best time of one minute 16.595 seconds early in the session before the rain began while Hamilton, who will be taking part in his 100th grand prix tomorrow, was 0.498 seconds behind.
They were followed by world championship leader Fernando Alonso of Ferrari and Schumacher. However, the conditions meant it was difficult to read anything significant into the timings.
The German Grand Prix, halfway point in the 20-race championship, is seen as crucial to McLaren’s season after poor performances in the previous two races saw them slip down the standings to fourth place.
McLaren, winners in Ger-many last year, have brought a big package of updates to Hockenheim to help them close the gap on leaders Red Bull.
“They looked very competitive this morning, no doubt,” said Red Bull’s double world champion Sebastian Vettel, who has never won his home race. “It’s a Friday, and it’s difficult to draw conclusions. They looked competitive at Silverstone on the Friday as well and then their weekend was not so good.”
His Australian team-mate Mark Webber, currently second in the championship and preparing for his 100th race for Red Bull, added: “When the track is moving around this much, every lap basically, the laptimes are all over the place and people are very inconsistent with their times.”
Despite forecasts of similar conditions for today’s qualifying, Alonso looked on the bright side. “The car behaved well in all conditions which is always a good thing and we were also able to see how the various types of tyre worked and when was the right moment to switch from one to another,” said the Spaniard, who started the previous race at Silverstone on pole.
Search for a job
Search for a car
Search for a house
Weather for Edinburgh
Friday 24 May 2013
Temperature: 3 C to 12 C
Wind Speed: 18 mph
Wind direction: North east
Temperature: 7 C to 17 C
Wind Speed: 13 mph
Wind direction: West