German Grand Prix 2012: Jenson Button sets practice pace

Jenson Button sets the pace across two rain-affected practice sessions for Sunday's German Grand Prix at Hockenheim

jenson button
Jenson Button in practice action at Hockenheim Photo: Courtesy of Vodafone McLaren Mercedes

jenson button

Jenson Button and Lewis Hamilton led a McLaren one-two across two rain-disrupted free practice sessions ahead of Sunday’s German Grand Prix at Hockenheim.

In a wet morning session, Button clocked a time of one minute and 16.595 seconds, 0.498 seconds faster than his team-mate Hamilton, with Ferrari’s Fernando Alonso third-fastest.

Williams driver Pastor Maldonado then set the pace in a much wetter afternoon session on intermediate tyres, recording a one minute 27.476 seconds.

Button expressed his concern at a lack of competitiveness in wet conditions after McLaren struggled at the British Grand Prix a fortnight ago as well as in the second session in Germany.

“Trying to get these wet tyres working is one of our big issues,” said Button. “There’s a lot of work needed to prove we can be quick in the wet because I think it could be wet tomorrow.”

And Hamilton said he felt like he was driving “on ice” at times on Friday. “In the wet, we need to do a bit of an improvement on the wet tyres trying to get them switching on,” he said.

“It feels like you’re on ice when you’re out there. Maybe the Ferraris and Mercedes are seeming to switch their inters on a bit better, so we have a bit of work to do there.”

Meanwhile, defending world champion Sebastian Vettel bemoaned the conditions at his home circuit but admitted he is likely to have no choice but to adapt, with the forecast for the next two days also looking uncertain.

“We couldn’t learn too much today, so we just got used to the conditions, as there may be rain tomorrow and also on Sunday,” said the Red Bull driver.

“The forecast isn’t looking great. It would have been good to have got some dry running in, especially this afternoon to test a couple of things and see how the car feels – it’s hard to get a proper baseline when the conditions keep changing.

“We have to carry the extremes into tomorrow and Sunday, so we obviously tried to limit the running on those tyres.”

German Grand Prix 2012: Combined practice times

1 Jenson Button Britain McLaren-Mercedes 1m 16.595s

2 Lewis Hamilton Britain McLaren-Mercedes 1m 17.093s

3 Fernando Alonso Spain Ferrari-Ferrari 1m 17.370s

4 Michael Schumacher Germany Mercedes-Mercedes 1m 17.382s

5 Sergio Perez Mexico Sauber-Ferrari 1m 17.413s

6 Nico Hulkenberg Germany Force India-Mercedes 1m 17.599s

7 Nico Rosberg Germany Mercedes-Mercedes 1m 17.915s

8 Felipe Massa Brazil Ferrari-Ferrari 1m 17.995s

9 Pastor Maldonado Venezuela Williams-Renault 1m 18.020s

10 Romain Grosjean France Lotus-Renault 1m 18.130s

11 Kamui Kobayashi Japan Sauber-Ferrari 1m 18.226s

12 Sebastian Vettel Germany Red Bull-Renault 1m 18.339s

13 Valtteri Bottas Finland Williams-Renault 1m 18.422s

14 Daniel Ricciardo Australia Toro Rosso-Ferrari 1m 18.709s

15 Kimi Raikkonen Finland Lotus-Renault 1m 18.831s

16 Jules Bianchi France Force India-Mercedes 1m 18.972s

17 Jean-Eric Vergne France Toro Rosso-Ferrari 1m 19.039s

18 Vitaly Petrov Russia Caterham-Renault 1m 19.674s

19 Heikki Kovalainen Finland Caterham-Renault 1m 19.963s

20 Mark Webber Australia Red Bull-Renault 1m 20.122s

21 Charles Pic France Marussia -Cosworth 1m 20.169s

22 Timo Glock Germany Marussia-Cosworth 1m 20.539s

23 Pedro de la Rosa Spain HRT-Cosworth 1m 21.138s

24 Dani Clos Spain HRT-Cosworth 1m 21.740s5

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