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Friday analysis - the guessing games continue 20 Jul 2012

Bruno Senna (BRA) Williams FW34.
Formula One World Championship, Rd10, German Grand Prix, Practice, Hockenheim, Germany, Friday, 20 July 2012 Michael Schumacher (GER) Mercedes AMG F1 W03.
Formula One World Championship, Rd10, German Grand Prix, Practice, Hockenheim, Germany, Friday, 20 July 2012 Sebastian Vettel (GER) Red Bull Racing RB8.
Formula One World Championship, Rd10, German Grand Prix, Practice, Hockenheim, Germany, Friday, 20 July 2012 Sergio Perez (MEX) Sauber C31.
Formula One World Championship, Rd10, German Grand Prix, Practice, Hockenheim, Germany, Friday, 20 July 2012 Romain Grosjean (FRA) Lotus E20.
Formula One World Championship, Rd10, German Grand Prix, Practice, Hockenheim, Germany, Friday, 20 July 2012 (L to R): Nicolas Todt (FRA) Driver Manager, Jules Bianchi (FRA) Force India F1 Third Driver and Sam Bird (GBR) Mercedes AMG F1 Third Driver.
Formula One World Championship, Rd10, German Grand Prix, Practice, Hockenheim, Germany, Friday, 20 July 2012 Lewis Hamilton (GBR) McLaren MP4-27.
Formula One World Championship, Rd10, German Grand Prix, Practice, Hockenheim, Germany, Friday, 20 July 2012 Daniel Ricciardo (AUS) Scuderia Toro Rosso STR7.
Formula One World Championship, Rd10, German Grand Prix, Practice, Hockenheim, Germany, Friday, 20 July 2012 Fernando Alonso (ESP) Ferrari F2012.
Formula One World Championship, Rd10, German Grand Prix, Practice, Hockenheim, Germany, Friday, 20 July 2012 Timo Glock (GER) Marussia F1 Team MR01.
Formula One World Championship, Rd10, German Grand Prix, Practice, Hockenheim, Germany, Friday, 20 July 2012 Vitaly Petrov (RUS) Caterham CT01.
Formula One World Championship, Rd10, German Grand Prix, Practice, Hockenheim, Germany, Friday, 20 July 2012 Dani Clos (ESP) HRT Formula One Team HRT F112 Third Driver.
Formula One World Championship, Rd10, German Grand Prix, Practice, Hockenheim, Germany, Friday, 20 July 2012

As at Silverstone two weeks ago, once again the weather affected both Friday sessions in Germany, keeping teams guessing on optimal set-ups. Just as the crossover point approached to switch to slicks in FP2 the rain returned. It was that sort of day…

Williams
Pastor Maldonado, 1m 18.020s, P9/1m 27.476s, P1
Bruno Senna (afternoon only), 1m 30.291s, P16
Valtteri Bottas (morning only) 1m 18.422s, P13

A good day for Williams, with Maldonado making best use of the five-minute spell in the afternoon when conditions improved enough for the FIA to enable DRS. Unusually, Bottas made a mistake and shunted in the morning, while Senna hardly had the ideal conditions in the afternoon to reacclimatise with the track.

Mercedes
Nico Rosberg, 1m 17.915s, P7/1m 27.564s, P2
Michael Schumacher, 1m 17.382s, P4/1m 32.777s, P23

Not a bad day for Mercedes, with the W03 showing good speed in wet and dry conditions. But Schumacher damaged his car in FP2 after losing concentration while speaking over the radio with his engineers, and Rosberg will have to take a five-place grid penalty after a gearbox change since Silverstone.

Red Bull
Sebastian Vettel, 1m 18.339s, P12/1m 27.902s, P3
Mark Webber, 1m 20.122s, P20/1m 28.877s, P9

Both drivers resigned themselves to the tricky conditions and focused on getting the best out of the RB8 for them, while hoping for better weather over the remainder of the weekend.

Sauber
Sergio Perez 1m 17.413s, P5/1m 28.402s, P4
Kamui Kobayashi, 1m 18.226s, P11/1m 29.785s, P13

Both drivers did some aero work in the morning, but in the afternoon Kobayashi was so unhappy with his C31’s handling that he became convinced something was amiss with the car.

Lotus
Romain Grosjean, 1m 18.130s, P10/1m 28.420s, P5
Kimi Raikkonen, 1m 18.831s, P15/1m 29.327s, P10

The team were satisfied with Raikkonen’s running with a new ‘double DRS’ system in FP1, while Grosjean seemed to be the only driver with a positive comment about the conditions as he hopes they might minimise the effect of his five-place gearbox penalty if everyone goes to the grid for a dry race without having had the dry road in practice to facilitate optimal chassis set-ups.

Force India
Nico Hulkenberg, 1m 17.599s, P6/1m 28.495s, P6
Paul di Resta (afternoon only), 1m 30.437s, P18
Jules Bianchi (morning only), 1m 18.972s, P16

No dramas here for any of the drivers, as they worked through their programmes as best they could while the team adapted to the changing conditions.

McLaren
Jenson Button, 1m 16.595s, P1/1m 28.516s, P8
Lewis Hamilton, 1m 17.093s, P2/1m 30.617s, P19

Both drivers were cautiously optimistic about the new upgrade which includes sidepods, rear bodywork and exhaust outlets. They were first and second in FP1, when Button ran at just the right time and Hamilton was fastest of all his pursuers once conditions had deteriorated.

Toro Rosso
Daniel Ricciardo, 1m 18.709s, P14/1m 28.513s, P7
Jean-Eric Vergne, 1m 19.039s, P17/1m 29.364s, P11

Ricciardo did some back-to-back aero comparison work on a new front wing in FP1 and was quick, and said he was satisfied with FP2 too, until he locked a front wheel and slid into a gravel bed. Vergne said his STR7 felt surprisingly good on the wet Pirelli tyre in FP2, but that the balance needed work once he switched to intermediates.

Ferrari
Felipe Massa, 1m 17.995s, P8/1m 29.719s, P12
Fernando Alonso, 1m 17.370s, P3/1m 31.207s, P20

Alonso said he was reasonably pleased with his day, after setting third fastest time in FP1 but only finishing 20th in FP2. Massa was as frustrated as anyone by the conditions, but said that overall his F2012 felt pretty good.

Marussia
Charles Pic, 1m 20.169s, P21/1m 30.090s, P14
Timo Glock, 1m 20.539s, P22/1m 30.220s, P15

Pic was happy with some aero validation work in the morning which helped the team to progress the new package introduced at Silverstone. He was quick in the wet in FP2, too, which was a fillip. Glock had a mechanical problem in FP1, and complained of oversteer and nervous handling in FP2.

Caterham
Heikki Kovalainen, 1m 19.963s, P19/1m 30.331s, P17
Vitaly Petrov, 1m 19.674s, P18/1m 32.241s, P21

Both drivers concentrated in FP1 on continuing the aero programme initiated the previous Tuesday at Lurcy-Levis in France, and technical director Mark Smith said that they were still only achieving 40 percent of the potential of the upgrade package introduced at Silverstone.

HRT
Narain Karthikeyan (afternoon only), 1m 31.349s, P22
Pedro de la Rosa, 1m 21.138s, P23/1m 42.566s, P24
Dani Clos (morning only) 1m 21.740s, P24

Clos did a very strong job in his morning outing, to push De la Rosa hard. The older Spaniard then had brake problems in the afternoon when Karthikeyan had his first run of the day in the worst weather conditions.

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