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Practice One - Kobayashi on top at sodden Spa 31 Aug 2012

Kamui Kobayashi (JPN) Sauber C31.
Formula One World Championship, Rd12, Belgian Grand Prix, Practice, Spa-Francorchamps, Belgium, Friday, 31 August 2012 Pastor Maldonado (VEN) Williams FW34.
Formula One World Championship, Rd12, Belgian Grand Prix, Practice, Spa-Francorchamps, Belgium, Friday, 31 August 2012 Michael Schumacher runs slightly wide at Eau Rouge after a frightening high-speed wobble The view from Daniel Ricciardo's car shows how much standing water there is on track. His lap is still good enough to top a very depleted timesheet Kimi Raikkonen (FIN) Lotus F1.
Formula One World Championship, Rd12, Belgian Grand Prix, Practice, Spa-Francorchamps, Belgium, Friday, 31 August 2012

It was fitting that Kamui Kobayashi and Sauber were fastest in a very wet opening practice session for the 2012 Formula 1 Shell Belgian Grand Prix, since they were one of the few combinations that ran for most of the 90 minutes.

Heavy rain on Friday discouraged many from venturing out and it was not until the closing minutes that the track became really busy. Ferrari’s Felipe Massa was the only driver who failed to set a time but the Lotuses of Kimi Raikkonen and Romain Grosjean and Massa’s team mate Fernando Alonso only completed sporadic out and in laps throughout the morning.

Kobayashi saw off challenges from the Toro Rossos of Daniel Ricciardo and Jean-Eric Vergne, which likewise ran for most of the session, and Pastor Maldonado’s Williams, and his eventual best of 2m 11.389s was 0.552s faster than the Venezuelan’s 2m 11.941s.

Ricciardo aced his rookie team mate again for third with 2m 12.004s to 2m 12.824s, then Red Bull’s Mark Webber on 2m 13.191s headed Sergio Perez in the second Sauber who lapped in 2m 13.861s.

Nico Rosberg was seventh for Mercedes with 2m 14.210s, chased by Williams’ test driver Valtteri Bottas on 2m 14.660s and Red Bull’s Sebastian Vettel on 2m 14.860s. Michael Schumacher completed the top 10 with 2m 15.402s for Mercedes from Paul di Resta on 2m 15.812s for Force India.

Timo Glock showed strongly for Marussia with the 12th fastest time of 2m 16.409s, which left him ahead of Force India’s Nico Hulkenberg on 2m 16.786s, Vitaly Petrov in the lead Caterham on 2m 16.788s, and the McLarens of Lewis Hamilton and Jenson Button. The latter duo ventured out towards the end to record 2m 16.827s and 2m 16.861s respectively.

Charles Pic was 17th on 2m 17.519s, while Heikki Kovalainen was in his customary 18th slot, even though four faster cars didn’t run at full pelt, with 2m 18.199s. The final times were recorded by the close-matched HRTs of Pedro de la Rosa and tester Dani Clos, who lapped in 2m 19.546s and 2m 19.689s apiece. Grosjean was 21st with 2m 38.701s, ahead of Alonso (2m 40.749s) and Raikkonen (2m 46.580s).

Kobayashi, Ricciardo, Button, Webber and Maldonado all got caught out by the slippiness at Les Combes, while Massa stopped at the Bus Stop right at the end of the session with what appeared to be a blown engine.

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