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Practice Two - Button tops rain-hit Monaco session 24 May 2012

Jenson Button (GBR) McLaren MP4-27.
Formula One World Championship, Rd6, Monaco Grand Prix, Practice Day, Monte-Carlo, Monaco, Thursday, 24 May 2012 As the rain arrives the cars return to their garages As the rain returns Kimi Raikkonen shows off his James Hunt tribute crash helmet in honour of his hero Sergio Perez follows suit in his Sauber at Mirabeau and needs the help of marshals to get back on track Pastor Maldonado ends up in the escape road at Mirabeau one lap after his Williams team mate Bruno Senna did exactly the same thing

The rain came to Monaco sooner than expected on Thursday afternoon, which rather spoiled second practice as the times became academic thereafter.

The shower came after the first half hour, and just after Jenson Button had redefined the ante with a lap of 1m 15.746s on Pirelli’s super-soft tyre. The McLaren driver was the only frontrunner to get his time in on the softer compound, and thus ended up 0.392s ahead of Lotus’s Romain Grosjean, who took his E20 round in 1m 16.138s to head fellow soft tyre runners Felipe Massa and Fernando Alonso in their Ferraris. The revitalised Brazilian lapped in 1m 16.602s to the Spaniard’s 1m 16.661s.

Pastor Maldonado’s strong form continued with fifth fastest time for Williams in 1m 16.820s, though later he had a minor brush with a wall.

Behind the Venezuelan, Nico Rosberg was sixth for Mercedes in 1m 17.021s, ahead of Mark Webber on 1m 17.148s for Red Bull, Kamui Kobayashi on 1m 17.153s for Sauber, Michael Schumacher on 1m 17.293s in the second Mercedes, Sebastian Vettel on 1m 17.303s in the second Red Bull, Lewis Hamilton on 1m 17.375s in the second McLaren, Paul Di Resta in the lead Force India on 1m 17.395s, Bruno Senna in the second Williams on 1m 17.655s and Nico Hulkenberg in the second Force India on 1m 17.800s.

Sergio Perez was next up for Sauber on 1m 18.251s, with Vitaly Petrov for company in the lead Caterham on 1m 18.440s. Jean-Eric Vergne was again Toro Rosso’s faster runner with 1m 18.522s, but Daniel Ricciardo again shadowed him with 1m 18.808s.

Kimi Raikkonen’s wisdom in spending the morning’s dry session on steering set-up was called into question when the rain came, and he ended a frustrating day only 19th on 1m 19.267s and with minimal dry-road experience.

Timo Glock’s Marussia headed the final quintet on 1m 19.309s, but it was a close-run thing behind him. Heikki Kovalainen lapped in 1m 20.029s before his Caterham came to a stop in the escape road at Mirabeau, while Charles Pic took his Marussia round in 1m 20.240 ahead of the HRTs of Pedro de la Rosa and Narain Karthikeyan on 1m 20.631s and 1m 20.886s respectively.

Besides Maldonado, Senna and Massa made quick visits to the Mirabeau escape road, but otherwise it was a relatively uneventful, and inconclusive, practice session. It may prove to be the last with any dry running, as the forecast now predicts serious rain on Saturday, and possible showers on Sunday.

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