Australian Grand Prix 2012: Schumacher sets practice pace

Seven-time world champion Michael Schumacher sets the pace for Mercedes GP in second practice session in Australia

By Steven Oldham
michael schumacher
Jenson Button set the pace in first practice Photo: Courtesy of Vodafone McLaren Mercedes

michael schumacher

Michael Schumacher was fastest in second practice for the Australian Grand Prix as the traditional pecking order was jumbled up in Melbourne on Friday morning.

Schumacher’s lap of 1.29:183 in damp conditions was quick enough to pip Force India’s Nico Hulkenberg by just over a tenth.

Sergio Perez was third in the Sauber, ahead of team-mate Kamui Kobayashi in fifth with Fernando Alonso’s Ferrari splitting the pair.

In first practice, the McLaren duo of Jenson Button and Lewis Hamilton locked out the two first positions, ahead of Schumacher, Alonso and local favourite Mark Webber in the Red Bull.

Reigning champion Sebastian Vettel could only finish 11th and 10th though there is little other similarity between the two session’s results.

This was highlighted by Button and Hamilton, who fell to 15th and 16th after their good showing in first practice.

Daniel Ricciardo – in his first full season after racing for the second half of last year at HRT – gave the home fans something to cheer as he steered the Toro Rosso to seventh in the first session, well ahead of team-mate Jean-Eric Vergne, who could only manage 17th.

HRT could repeat their double DNQ from last year’s race with lead driver Pedro de la Rosa unable to complete a flying lap in either session.

Narain Karthikeyan managed only three laps before stopping on track. His fastest lap was some 13 seconds off Schumacher’s pace, well outside the 107 per cent cut-off point.

The Spanish team did not take part in any of the pre-season tests and managed only 40km of testing over the winter.

First practice times

1. Jenson Button – McLaren-Mercedes – 1:27.560
2. Lewis Hamilton – McLaren-Mercedes – 1:27.805
3. Michael Schumacher – Mercedes GP – 1:28.235
4. Fernando Alonso – Ferrari – 1:28.360
5. Mark Webber – Red Bull-Renault – 1:28.467
6. Nico Rosberg – Mercedes GP – 1:28.683
7. Daniel Ricciardo – Toro Rosso-Ferrari – 1:28.908
8. Pastor Maldonado – Williams-Renault – 1:29.415
9. Kimi Raikkonen – Lotus – 1:29.565
10. Kamui Kobayashi – Sauber – 1:29.722
11. Sebastian Vettel – Red Bull-Renault – 1:29.790
12. Nico Hulkenberg – Force India-Mercedes – 1:29.865
13. Paul Di Resta – Force India-Mercedes – 1:29.881
14. Bruno Senna – Williams-Renault – 1:29.953
15. Sergio Perez – Sauber – 1:30.124
16. Romain Grosjean – Lotus – 1:30.515
17. Heikki Kovalainen – Caterham – 1:30.586
18. Felipe Massa – Ferrari – 1:30.743
19. Jean-Eric Vergne – Toro Rosso-Ferrari – 1:31.178
20. Vitaly Petrov – Caterham – 1:31.983
21. Timo Glock – Marussia – 1:34.730
22. Charles Pic – Marussia – 1:40.256
23. Narain Karthikeyan – HRT-Cosworth
24. Pedro de la Rosa – HRT-Cosworth

Second practice times

1. Michael Schumacher – Mercedes GP – 1:29.183
2. Nico Hulkenberg – Force India-Mercedes – 1:29.292
3. Sergio Perez – Sauber – 1:30.199
4. Fernando Alonso – Ferrari – 1:30.341
5. Kamui Kobayashi – Sauber – 1:30.709
6. Paul Di Resta – Force India-Mercedes – 1:31.466
7. Felipe Massa – Ferrari – 1:31.505
8. Heikki Kovalainen – Caterham-Renault – 1:31.932
9. Nico Rosberg – Mercedes GP – 1:32.184
10. Sebastian Vettel – Red Bull-Renault – 1:32.194
11. Mark Webber – Red Bull-Renault – 1:32.296
12. Timo Glock – Marussia-Cosworth – 1:32.632
13. Vitaly Petrov – Caterham-Renault – 1:32.767
14. Romain Grosjean – Lotus-Renault – 1:32.822
15. Jenson Button – McLaren-Mercedes – 1:33.039
16. Lewis Hamilton – McLaren-Mercedes – 1:33.252
17. Pastor Maldonado – Williams-Renault – 1:34.108
18. Kimi Raikkonen – Lotus-Renault – 1:34.275
19. Bruno Senna – Williams-Renault – 1:34.312
20. Jean-Eric Vergne – Toro Rosso-Ferrari – 1:34.485
21. Daniel Ricciardo – Toro Rosso-Ferrari – 1:34.604
22. Charles Pic – Marussia-Cosworth – 1:34.770
23. Narain Karthikeyan – HRT-Cosworth – 1:42.627
24. Pedro de la Rosa – HRT-Cosworth

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