Kamui Kobayashi has posted the fastest lap time in a soaked opening practice session for the Belgian Grand Prix. With the rather typical weather on display, the teams and drivers only ventured out for a few laps in a bid to conserve their wet-weather tyres for use later this weekend when more rain is expected to hit.
The Sauber driver was actually the only one brave enough to attempt a flying lap, with his initial time of 2:17.705 remaining the fastest of the session until the final forty minutes.
While the rain barely eased, most of the field opted to hit the circuit for a few timed laps, and it was the Toro Rosso pairing of Daniel Ricciardo and Jean-Éric Vergne claimed top spot, before Kobayashi started to trade fastest times with them, along with Pastor Maldonado in the Williams.
With just over 15 minutes to go, Kobayashi went back to the top of the timesheets with a 2:11.389, beating Maldonado’s best effort by half a second, with Ricciardo and Vergne completing the top four, ahead of Mark Webber, Sergio Pérez, Nico Rosberg, Valtteri Bottas, Sebastian Vettel and Michael Schumacher, who was tenth-fastest on his 300th Grand Prix weekend.
Fernando Alonso and Kimi Räikkönen, two of favourite drivers to win this weekend, opted not to post representative lap-times, while Felipe Massa was another not to do so – although his running was curtailed when he stopped with smoke pouring from the rear of his Ferrari.
2012 Belgian Formula 1 Grand Prix – Free Practice 1 Session Times:
|1.||Kamui Kobayashi||Sauber Ferrari C31||2:11.389||19|
|2.||Pastor Maldonado||Williams Renault FW34||2:11.941||+ 0.552||14|
|3.||Daniel Ricciardo||Scuderia Toro Rosso Ferrari STR7||2:12.004||+ 0.615||12|
|4.||Jean-Éric Vergne||Scuderia Toro Rosso Ferrari STR7||2:12.824||+ 1.435||15|
|5.||Mark Webber||Red Bull Racing Renault RB8||2:13.191||+ 1.802||13|
|6.||Sergio Pérez||Sauber Ferrari C31||2:13.861||+ 2.472||16|
|7.||Nico Rosberg||Mercedes AMG F1 W03||2:14.210||+ 2.821||14|
|8.||Valtteri Bottas||Williams Renault FW34||2:14.660||+ 3.271||16|
|9.||Sebastian Vettel||Red Bull Racing Renault RB8||2:14.860||+ 3.471||12|
|10.||Michael Schumacher||Mercedes AMG F1 W03||2:15.402||+ 4.013||13|
|11.||Paul di Resta||Force India Mercedes VJM05||2:15.812||+ 4.423||11|
|12.||Timo Glock||Marussia Racing Cosworth MR01||2:16.409||+ 5.020||16|
|13.||Nico Hülkenberg||Force India Mercedes VJM05||2:16.786||+ 5.397||10|
|14.||Vitaly Petrov||Caterham Renault CT01||2:16.788||+ 5.399||16|
|15.||Lewis Hamilton||McLaren Mercedes MP4-27||2:16.827||+ 5.438||5|
|16.||Jenson Button||McLaren Mercedes MP4-27||2:16.861||+ 5.472||8|
|17.||Charles Pic||Marussia Racing Cosworth MR01||2:17.519||+ 6.130||14|
|18.||Heikki Kovalainen||Caterham Renault CT01||2:18.199||+ 6.810||10|
|19.||Pedro de la Rosa||HRTF1 Cosworth F112||2:19.546||+ 8.157||12|
|20.||Dani Clos||HRTF1 Cosworth F112||2:19.689||+ 8.300||12|
|21.||Romain Grosjean||Lotus F1 Renault E20||2:38.701||+ 27.312||9|
|22.||Fernando Alonso||Scuderia Ferrari F2012||2:40.749||+ 29.360||4|
|23.||Kimi Räikkönen||Lotus F1 Renault E20||2:46.580||+ 35.191||9|
|24.||Felipe Massa||Scuderia Ferrari F2012||no time||2|