Practice 1: Hamilton fastest as McLaren signal their intent
27 July, 2012
Jul.26 (Apex) By their lofty standards McLaren have had a dip in form since they last won, in Canada, but in Germany they showed signs of a revival and again at Hungaroring, on a warm sunny day which the MP4-27 relishes, the team’s two world champions hogged the top spots on the timing screens at the end of the first free practice session of the Hungarian Grand Prix weekend.
Hamilton clocked the fastest lap, of 1 minute 22.821 seconds in 30 laps (more than anyone else) around the 4.4 km circuit, during a bustle of rapid laps midway through the session, and was 0.101 seconds up on teammate Button who had set his best shortly before that.
Inadvertently, perhaps, it was a show of muscle by the Woking squad who need to re-ignite their season as they are beginning to lose touch with championship points leader Fernando Alonso.
And in fact it was the Ferrari driver who was next best in the vastly improved F2012, but the Spaniard’s best time was half a second down on Hamilton’s best.
Mercedes left Hockenheim confused about where their pace disappeared to in Germany and will be looking for a reversal of fortune at the twisty Hungaroring with Nico Rosberg fastest of the Silver Arrows pair with the fifth best time and Michael Schumacher, four times a winner in Hungary, sixth fastest.
Felipe Massa, back at the scene of his horrific qualifying accident in 2009, was seventh fastest in the second Ferrari looking for a strong showing after a forgettable weekend in Germany.
Eighth fastest at the end of the session was Kimi Raikkonen in the Lotus E20 featuring the ‘super’ double DRS – teammate Grosjean was running the more conventional contraption.
On Friday duty for Williams was Valterri Bottas, who gave a good account of himself after his close encounter with the wall in Hockenheim a week earlier, and ended ninth fastest and a tad quicker than teammate Pastor Maldonado who was 11th best.
Out of the top ten were both Red Bull drivers, Mark Webber and Sebastian Vettel, who ended 13th and 15th respectively – clearly neither of them opted to take a fast run.
Other reserves doing duty were: 18th fastest Jules Bianchi replacing Force India’s Nico Hulkenberg and slowest of all Dani Clos in Narain Karthikeyn’s HRT.
None (at least to our knowledge) of the drivers used the yellow band Pirelli soft tyres which are probably being horded, with the white band medium being the rubber of choice for the opening session in Budapest.
Subbed by AJN.
Hungarian Grand Prix, Free Practice 1 – Friday, 27 July 2012
|13||2||Mark Webber||Red Bull Racing-Renault||1:24.546||1.725||24|
|14||11||Paul di Resta||Force India-Mercedes||1:24.559||1.738||22|
|15||1||Sebastian Vettel||Red Bull Racing-Renault||1:24.608||1.787||25|
|18||12||Jules Bianchi||Force India-Mercedes||1:25.715||2.894||26|
|23||22||Pedro de la Rosa||HRT-Cosworth||1:27.101||4.280||21|