World champion Sebastian Vettel damaged his Red Bull in a crash during a wet first session, preventing him from running at all in the dry second.
It was a promising start to the weekend for Mercedes-powered teams as Michael Schumacher took fourth quickest ahead of Red BullÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s Mark Webber and FerrariÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s Felipe Massa.
Force India pair Paul di Resta (eighth) and Adrian Sutil (10th) made it a full-house for Mercedes as Vitaly Petrov took seventh for Renault, with SauberÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s Sergio PÃƒÂ©rez ninth as the top 10 were covered by 1.6 seconds.
Ã¢â‚¬Å“IÃ¢â‚¬â„¢m pretty happy with how today went,Ã¢â‚¬Â Button said. Ã¢â‚¬Å“The carÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s been working reasonably wellÃ¢â‚¬â€œthere are always things you want to improve, but weÃ¢â‚¬â„¢ve made some good progress and have a lot of useful data to go through.
Ã¢â‚¬Å“Trying to get the car to ride the bumps well into Turn 12 has been difficult, but we improved it through the session. Turn 12 is really bumpyÃ¢â‚¬â€œitÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s like they put a motocross jump in there!
Ã¢â‚¬Å“And Turn EightÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s quite tough too because, depending on your balance, it can damage the front and rear tyres. ItÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s about getting the balance right, which we concentrated on today.
Ã¢â‚¬Å“We havenÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t put everything on the car that we wanted to this weekend, which is disappointing, but we still have some useful upgrades so itÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s nice to keep moving forwards.Ã¢â‚¬Â
McLaren opted to limit their running during a wet first practice session to save wet and intermediate tyres for the rest of the weekend with more unpredictable weather to come, Button completing four laps, while Hamilton completed just one.
McLaren team principal Martin Whitmarsh said: Ã¢â‚¬Å“Lewis and Jenson felt happy with the balance of their cars, although both said that the bumps upon entry to Turn 12 were fairly severe and unsettled the car.
Ã¢â‚¬Å“WeÃ¢â‚¬â„¢re happy that weÃ¢â‚¬â„¢ve found a good baseline for the set-up and that we can build upon it for the rest of the weekend.Ã¢â‚¬Â
Red Bull might have done better to follow their rivals after Vettel’s crash leaves the team with plenty to do on Saturday morning if they are to continue their qualifying dominance.
Ã¢â‚¬Å“There wasnÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t much I could do to stop the car from hitting the wall this morning, but the most important thing is that IÃ¢â‚¬â„¢m fine,Ã¢â‚¬Â Vettel said.
Ã¢â‚¬Å“Unfortunately we couldnÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t get the car ready in time for this afternoonÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s session, as there was too much damage.
“It makes things a bit more difficult, but I donÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t think it will be a problem, we know the track well from other years and, in the end, it was only one afternoon that we have lost.Ã¢â‚¬Â
FerrariÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s Fernando Alonso again suffered as a hydraulics problem, leaving him 11th quickest despite topping the time-sheets in the wet.
At the bottom of the sheets, Team Lotus test driver Karun Chandhok took to the track in the first session in place of Heikki Kovalainen, but compatriot Narain Karthikeyan was quicker by 2.2 seconds having done eight laps to ChandhokÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s six.
It is rare to see Hispania above the bottom two places on the time-sheets but normal service was resumed in the second session as Karthikeyan just missed out on lapping quicker than Virgin RacingÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s Timo Glock.
GlockÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s team-mate JÃƒÂ©rÃƒÂ´me dÃ¢â‚¬â„¢Ambrosio was handed a five-place grid penalty for the race after ignoring yellow flags when WilliamsÃ¢â‚¬â„¢ Pastor Maldonado spun at the infamous Turn Eight.
With Virgin having failed to make it out of Q1 so far this season, the Belgian rookie looks likely to start from the back of the grid.
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BIOGRAPHY: Ethan Hazard
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