Romain Grosjean has had a busy week leading into the British Grand Prix. He married his long-time sweetheart last week, and spent yesterday afternoon admiring Batman’s latest vehicle of choice as part of Lotus’ one-race sponsorship deal to promote The Dark Knight Rises.
No doubt he was wishing he had the Tumbler vehicle’s ground clearance and amazingly-treaded tyres in this morning’s rain-soaked opening practice session at Silverstone. But he needn’t have worried, managing to top the timesheets.
Rain-heavy skies greeted the teams and the traffic-logged approach roads leading into Silverstone when the track opened for business, and conditions only worsened over the course of the next ninety minutes.
Bucking the trend from past wet-weather sessions this season, most of the runners tried to put some mileage together and gather data for the weekend ahead – a wise move considering forecasters are predicting these conditions will remain until Sunday night.
As conditions worsened, those who appeared at the pointier end of the timesheets were the ones who managed to cobble together a lap early in the session, Grosjean’s marker of 1:56.552 was posted just over half an hour into the session, and it ultimately proved unmatchable.
That being said, he was one of several drivers to find the conditions tough going, and on his very next lap he slid off into the grass at Becketts. The likes of both Saubers, Timo Glock and HRT reserve driver Dani Clos also had spins during the session, but all managed to keep their cars out of the barriers.
Daniel Ricciardo finished the session second-fastest, an unusually high result in his lacklustre Toro Rosso STR7. Perhaps promisingly for the Italian team, team-mate Jean-Éric Vergne was tenth-fastest.
The home fans had something to cheer about when Lewis Hamilton popped into third-quickest in his McLaren. The 2008 race-winner led Sergio Pérez, Felipe Massa, Mark Webber, Kamui Kobayashi, Michael Schumacher, Nico Rosberg and Vergne to complete the top ten.
2012 British Formula 1 Grand Prix – Free Practice 1 Session Times:
|1.||Romain Grosjean||Lotus F1 Renault E20||1:56.552||13|
|2.||Daniel Ricciardo||Scuderia Toro Rosso Ferrari STR7||1:56.827||+ 0.275||10|
|3.||Lewis Hamilton||McLaren Mercedes MP4-27||1:57.174||+ 0.622||6|
|4.||Sergio Pérez||Sauber Ferrari C31||1:57.664||+ 1.112||11|
|5.||Felipe Massa||Scuderia Ferrari F2012||1:58.119||+ 1.567||7|
|6.||Mark Webber||Red Bull Racing Renault RB8||1:58.463||+ 1.911||7|
|7.||Kamui Kobayashi||Sauber Ferrari C31||1:58.483||+ 1.931||19|
|8.||Michael Schumacher||Mercedes AMG F1 W03||1:58.493||+ 1.941||10|
|9.||Nico Rosberg||Mercedes AMG F1 W03||1:58.942||+ 2.390||8|
|10.||Jean-Éric Vergne||Scuderia Toro Rosso Ferrari STR7||1:59.076||+ 2.524||12|
|11.||Sebastian Vettel||Red Bull Racing Renault RB8||1:59.414||+ 2.862||11|
|12.||Vitaly Petrov||Caterham Renault CT01||1:59.614||+ 3.062||9|
|13.||Valtteri Bottas||Williams Renault FW34||1:59.733||+ 3.181||7|
|14.||Heikki Kovalainen||Caterham Renault CT01||1:59.787||+ 3.235||10|
|15.||Pastor Maldonado||Williams Renault FW34||2:00.125||+ 3.573||5|
|16.||Kimi Räikkönen||Lotus F1 Renault E20||2:00.253||+ 3.701||6|
|17.||Jenson Button||McLaren Mercedes MP4-27||2:01.834||+ 5.282||6|
|18.||Timo Glock||Marussia Racing Cosworth MR01||2:01.835||+ 5.283||6|
|19.||Pedro de la Rosa||HRTF1 Cosworth F112||2:04.341||+ 7.789||9|
|20.||Dani Clos||HRTF1 Cosworth F112||2:05.022||+ 8.470||11|
|21.||Charles Pic||Marussia Racing Cosworth MR01||2:11.760||+ 15.208||6|
|22.||Fernando Alonso||Scuderia Ferrari F2012||no time||4|
|23.||Paul di Resta||Force India Mercedes VJM05||no time||3|
|24.||Jules Bianchi||Force India Mercedes VJM05||no time||1|